THE 2009 BULWER-LYTON AWARDS ARE IN!

 

In case you are unaware of these awards, the Bulwer-Lytton Awards are for inventing the worst imaginable opening to a novel. The awards honour the original author, who turns over in his grave many times every year thanks to these awards. The quote that made him the right choice for the awards:

"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)

I thought to look him up, turns out Lord Bulwer-Lytton is quite an accomplished writer (the above left aside):

Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton PC (25 May, 1803–18 January, 1873), was an English novelist, poet, playwright, and politician. Lord Lytton was a florid, popular writer of his day, who coined such phrases as "the great unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "the pen is mightier than the sword", and the infamous incipit "It was a dark and stormy night."

He was the youngest son of General William Earle Bulwer of Heydon Hall and Wood Dalling, Norfolk and Elizabeth Barbara Lytton, daughter of Richard Warburton Lytton of Knebworth, Hertfordshire. He had two brothers, William Earle Lytton Bulwer (1799–1877) and Henry, afterwards Lord Dalling and Bulwer.

Lord Lytton’s original surname was Bulwer, the names ‘Earle’ and ‘Lytton’ were middle names. On 20 February 1844 he assumed the name and arms of Lytton by royal licence and his surname then became ‘Bulwer-Lytton’. His widowed mother had done the same in 1811. His brothers were always simply surnamed ‘Bulwer’.

Lord Lytton had quite a career, but will always be remembered in the awards that honour him. The full award list of 2009 award winners can be read here. My favourite from this year:

Winner: Detective

She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida – the pink ones, not the white ones – except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn’t wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren’t.

Eric Rice
Sun Prairie, WI

Enjoy.

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