Prizes for great writing are contentious. (Need we even go into Borges's lack of Nobel Prize? Or the awarding of one to Knut Hamsun, a fine novelist but unrepentant Nazi?) While the field for bad-writing prizes is just budding, the controversies are hardly less heated. This year's top award for wretched prose, the Bulwer-Lytton
prize, went to Molly Ringle for this gem:
For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss--a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil.
But can we really call it the worst
? Some of the also-ran entries are, to the prose-addicted eyes of the Atlantic Wire, worse. Which is to say, better. Take the runner-up from the Detective category:
As Holmes, who had a nose for danger, quietly fingered the bloody knife and eyed the various body parts strewn along the dark, deserted highway, he placed his ear to the ground and, with his heart in his throat, silently mouthed to his companion, "Arm yourself, Watson, there is an evil hand afoot ahead."
Gawker writer Richard Lawson
tried to do the Bulwer-Lyttons one better, asking readers to try to outdo "the worst sentence in America." Jen Doll
of the Village Voice found contenders from the day's news. (Her example: "Starbucks is serving chicken.") Here's the winner/loser
of Lawson's contest--judge among the entrants yourself:
Noontime yesterday--or thereabouts--a rather mild diurne, if we do say
so, considering the surrounding ones of oppressive heat and death,
surely, of the elderly and probably, or possibly, more accurately,
since we are not in possession of the statistics, stray cats--the
pregnant ones, anyways, in their gravid multitudes--one Hamilton Nolan
of The Gawker, at best a filthy truck stop plied by lousy (literally)
goldbrickers and meth whores on the information superhighway--wrote of
the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest, likening the announcement of
its winner to a "bullhorn fart," or some such; lovelily enough, the
competition is such that, but of course, The Gawker
must--must--must--must!--feel compelled in cascading waterfalls of
inexorability to publish a second dissertation on the results of said
striving, this time implying that the fix was in, for easily, verily, a
much worse sentence a man (or woman) could indite.
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