- The Washington Times - Monday, August 1, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man who compared a woman to a carburetor won an annual contest that celebrates the worst writing in the English language.

Dan McKay, a computer analyst at Microsoft Great Plains in Fargo, N.D., bested thousands of other entrants from North Pole, Alaska, to Manchester, England, to triumph last week 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.

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, 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.”

Mr. McKay was in China and could not be reached to comment about his status as a world-renowned wretched writer. He will receive $250.

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