FW resident wins with writing so bad, it's good

From staff reports

Federal Way resident and writer Dave McKenzie made the list of winners for the 2007 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which celebrates bad writing and challenges folks to compose the “opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.”

The annual contest is named after Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, the author of “Paul Clifford.” That tale from 1830 began with the line “It was a dark and stormy night.”

McKenzie, who also contributes guest columns to The Mirror, won the Children’s Literature category with this entry:

“Danny, the little Grizzly cub, frolicked in the tall grass on this sunny Spring morning, his mother keeping a watchful eye as she chewed on a piece of a hiker they had encountered the day before.”

Scott Rice, a professor in the English Department of San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif., started the contest in 1982.

The 2007 overall winner was Jim Gleeson of Madison, Wisc.:

“Gerald began — but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them “permanently” meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash — to pee.”

Learn more

To learn more about the contest and see the list of this year’s winners, visit or

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