A Miscellany

One of my favourite annual literary events is the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Award. It’s given to the writer of the worst possible opening sentence of an imaginary novel. It’s named after the 19th century novelist, author of The Last Days of Pompeii, who notoriously (thanks to Peanuts) came up with this opening sentence for his novel Paul Clifford:

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”
–Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

The 2008 Awards (and they are very amusing) can be checked out at:


The winner this year is one Garrison Spik, from Washington DC, who came up with this priceless piece of purple prose:
“Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped “Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.”


Rachel recently posted a photo of the Elephant Rock, on the East Coast of Scotland. I was pretty sure I had an Elephant Rock photo too, and so I had. This one’s in Monument Valley, Arizona.


I was watching Boris Johnson’s programme about Christianity and Islam earlier this evening, and a brief glimpse of the 9/11 newsreel footage had me remembering the event again. I’ve got a personal reason for remembering. My father was very agitated and upset by the event, and two days later he had a stroke and died. I’ve no idea if one thing caused the other – he was 84, and I guess he could have had a stroke at any time – but it’s at least possible. So 9/13 is another date I recall very vividly.

Incidentally, as a result of the programme I’m rapidly revising my opinion of London’s Mayor. It was an extremely thoughtful and interesting programme.

About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
This entry was posted in Boris Johnson, Bulwer Lytton Awards, Elephant Rock. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Miscellany

  1. Rachel Fox says:

    Excellent elephant shot! For one heartstopping moment (before I saw the photo) I thought you were going to post an extract from my blog as another example of badly-written prose! It wouldn’t be too hard to find suitable sentences either, I fear.x

  2. Colin Will says:

    It really does look like an elephant from this angle Rachel. Weird.

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