Magazine article Insight on the News

Father of `Pet Rock' Wins Bulwer-Lyton Honors

Magazine article Insight on the News

Father of `Pet Rock' Wins Bulwer-Lyton Honors

Article excerpt

It was a dark and stormy night -- and it was hunched precariously, too, according to one of the writers participating in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, named for the Victorian novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, king of purple prose. This year's grand prize went to Gary Dahl, a man privy to catchy phrases and pop culture alike. The 63-year-old advertising copywriter also invented the "Pet Rock" some 25 years ago.

"The heather-encrusted Headlands, veiled in fog as thick as smoke in a crowded pub, hunched precariously over the moors, their rocky elbows slipping off land's end, their bulbous, craggy noses thrust into the thick foam of the North Sea like bearded old men falling asleep in their pints," wrote Dahl.

The prize, he noted, is the creme de la creme, the ne plus ultra, the cat's pajamas, even. "Now that I've won this award I can just hang it up. I'm finished. There's nothing else I can do."

This year, some 5,000 would-be Bulwer-Lyttons competed, according to organizer Scott Rice, an English professor at San Jose State University in California. "Entries come in from all over the world," he says. "They are very good, very worthy. Sometimes we see themes emerge each year. …

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