American academic wins bad prose award

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The Independent Culture

It may not be Shakespeare but that was never the idea. A sentence which compares forgotten memories to the bloodied corpses of sparrows has won a prize for intentionally bad literature. The 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, for which writers are invited to compose the worst opening sentence to an imaginary novel, was won by Sue Fondrie, a University of Wisconsin Professor. She wrote: "Cheryl's mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell on to a growing pile of forgotten memories." The award's wesbite said that, at 26 words, the submission was the shortest winner in Contest history.

Last year's winner, by Molly Ringle, read: "For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every rendezvous with a kiss – a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping... at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil."