Sue Fondrie, who describes herself as "a full-time teacher of teachers and part-time awful prose writer" was declared the winner of the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.
Sue Fondrie is an associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh who, in the words of the Contest results, "works groan-inducing wordplay into her teaching and administrative duties whenever possible. Out of school, she introduces two members of the next generation to the mysteries of Star Trek, Star Wars, and--of course--the art of the bad pun."
Prof. Fondrie becomes the 29th grand prize winner of the contest that began at San Jose State University in 1982. Since 1983 the BLFC has continued to draw acclaim and opprobrium.
The contest challenges entrants to compose bad opening sentences to imaginary novels takes its name from the Victorian novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, who began his Paul Clifford with “It was a dark and stormy night.”
At 26 words, Prof. Fondrie’s submission is the shortest grand prize winner in Contest history, proving that bad writing need not be prolix, or even very wordy:
Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.
In keeping with the gravitas, high seriousness, and general bignitude of the contest, she will receive . . . a pittance.
The Runner-Up was Rodney Reed from Ooltewah, TN:
As I stood among the ransacked ruin that had been my home, surveying the aftermath of the senseless horrors and atrocities that had been perpetrated on my family and everything I hold dear, I swore to myself that no matter where I had to go, no matter what I had to do or endure, I would find the man who did this . . . and when I did, when I did, oh, there would be words.
The prize is judged by categories, from "general" to detective, western, science fiction, romance, and so on. This year's winner for Purple Prose was Mike Pedersen from North Berwick, ME:
As his small boat scudded before a brisk breeze under a sapphire sky dappled with cerulean clouds with indigo bases, through cobalt seas that deepened to navy nearer the boat and faded to azure at the horizon, Ian was at a loss as to why he felt blue.
The runner up in the Purple Prose category was Jack Barry from Shelby, NC:
The Los Angeles morning was heavy with smog, the word being a portmanteau of smoke and fog, though in LA the pollutants are typically vehicular emissions as opposed to actual smoke and fog, unlike 19th-century London where the smoke from countless small coal fires often combined with fog off the Thames to produce true smog, though back then they were not clever enough to call it that.
The Winner in Historical Fiction was John Doble of New York City:
Napoleon’s ship tossed and turned as the emperor, listening while his generals squabbled as they always did, splashed the tepid waters in his bathtub.
And the Runner-Up in the same category was Andrea Rossi fromWilmington, NC
The executioner sneered as the young queen ascended the stairs to the guillotine; in the old days, he thought, at least there was some buildup, a little time on the rack or some disemboweling, but nowadays everyone wants instant gratification.
For the full list of winners in different categories and even the dishonourable mentions, check out the Award Page
The rules to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are childishly simple: Each entry must consist of a single sentence but you may submit as many entries as you wish. (One fellow once submitted over 3,000 entries.)
Read more about them here