SAN FRANCISCO – A man who compared a woman's anatomy to a carburetor won an annual contest that celebrates the worst writing in the English language.
Dan McKay (search), a computer analyst at Microsoft Great Plains in Fargo, N.D., bested thousands of entrants from North Pole, Alaska to Manchester, England to triumph Wednesday in San Jose State University's annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.
"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire," he wrote, comparing a woman's breasts to "small knurled caps of the oil dampeners."
The competition highlights literary achievements of the most dubious sort — terrifyingly bad sentences that take their inspiration from minor writer Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (search), whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" began, "It was a dark and stormy night."
"We want writers with a little talent, but no taste," San Jose State English Professor Scott Rice said. "And Dan's entry was just ludicrous."
McKay was in China and could not be reached to comment about his status as a world-renowned wretched writer. He will receive $250.
Rice said the challenge began as a worst paragraph contest, but judges soon realized no one should have to wade through so much putrid prose — such as this zinger, which took a dishonorable mention.
"The rising sun crawled over the ridge and slithered across the hot barren terrain into every nook and cranny like grease on a Denny's grill in the morning rush, but only until eleven o'clock when they switch to the lunch menu," wrote Lester Guyse, a retired fraud investigator in Portland, Ore.
"That was the least favorite of the five I entered, but you win any way you can," Guyse said.
Ken Aclin, of Shreveport, La., won the Grand Panjandrum's Award (search) for his shocking similes and abusive use of adjectives. He wrote that India "hangs like a wet washcloth from the towel rack of Asia."
"I just saw that washcloth hanging in the shower and it looked like India," he said. "I'll be doggone."