Bul­wer Pur­ple Prose Lit­er­ary Awards

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Bul­wer spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion, Rachel Gar­ber

The Bul­wer Com­mu­nity Cen­tre was full to crack­ing Satur­day evening with 99 peo­ple. They were laugh­ing. It was the awards sup­per of the Bul­wer Pur­ple Prose Project, and the grand win­ner of the Grand Pit­tance was Jerome Krause of Ayer’s Cliff.

The Grand Pit­tance was a two-inch wooden tro­phy sport­ing a shiny penny bear­ing the like­ness of Elis­a­beth II. The tro­phies were cre­ated by Dick Tracy of Len­noxville.

Pen­nies are now col­lec­tor’s items, noted the Master of Cer­e­monies, Ross Mur­ray of Stanstead.

The truest hue of Pur­ple Prose that earned Krause the tro­phy goes like this:

“Be I a mad­man, a mur­derer, or both, I am not un­re­pen­tant ere the task be done – set aside any dis­course vis-à-vis my dif­fi­dent want of his pil­lowy strum­pet (an un­fruit­ful, false ad­ven­ture, alas, and it holds no sway in this en­ter­prise) – but the man is sala­cious in his dis­si­pated hungers and I shall with­out in­de­ci­sion kill him.”

In other words, “I wanna kill him!”

“I had an un­fair ad­van­tage,” said Krause in his ac­cep­tance speech. “I own the en­tire set of Bul­w­erLyt­ton’s works!”

Bul­wer-Lyt­ton made a for­tune in the 1800s, writ­ing penny nov­els. He is known for his pur­ple prose – con­vo­luted, flow­ery sen­tences. But he also coined many pithy say­ings that we still use to­day, such as “It was a dark and stormy night.” “The pen is might­ier than the sword.” Or “the almighty dol­lar.”

The vil­lage of Bul­wer was named for him af­ter he came through by train, and stopped to speak to some res­i­dents. He was Eng­land’s sec­re­tary of the colonies.

The Bul­wer Pur­ple Prose Project in­vited par­tic­i­pants to sub­mit the first sen­tence of the worst novel ever. In ad­di­tion to the grand prizewin­ner, a panel of three judges se­lected win­ners in six cat­e­gories. They re­viewed the 70 en­tries that were posted anony­mously at http://bul­w­er­pur­pleprose.word­press.com/. When the win­ners were iden­ti­fied, it was dis­cov­ered that sev­eral peo­ple had made a num­ber of en­tries, and had won more than one prize.

Mead Baldwin of Way’s Mills took first pit­tance in the Ro­mance cat­e­gory, with Jerome Krause in sec­ond place.

David Smith of Ot­tawa won the Lo­cal His­tory award.

Jerome Krause won in the Crime/Mys­tery cat­e­gory, with same sen­tence that earned him the Grand Pit­tance. For Crime/Mys­tery, Su­san Mastine of Kingsey Falls took sec­ond place, and An­nie Duriez of Sher­brooke, third place.

Here’s Mastine’s anti-mas­ter­piece:

“Writ­ing an obit­u­ary—an unedited, never-to-be-pub­lished, spicy ver­sion that in­cludes not par­tic­u­larly the de­ceased per­son’s life­time claims to fame but his or her mis­be­haviours, those mis­takes that can never be re­tracted, that ap­pear long buried and for­got­ten but… that abruptly and un­bid­dingly resur­face, nay haunt one, at the most un­ex­pected mo­ments—can be such a lark.”

An­nie Duriez of Sher­brooke won the Fanstasy cat­e­gory. Jerome Krause and Mead Baldwin were first and sec­ond, re­spec­tively, in the Le­gend cat­e­gory. And Joyce Booth of Sher­brooke won the Ad­ven­ture cat­e­gory, with Mead Baldwin and An­nie Duriez in sec­ond and third place.

The au­di­ence howled with laugh­ter as the win­ning sen­tences were read out and em­cee Ross Mur­ray com­mented on them.

That was af­ter mu­sic by the five-man Mostly Swing, and be­fore mu­sic by the bass and fid­dle duet of Bul­w­e­ri­ans Jan­ice LaDuke and Dave Gil­lis. It was be­tween a 10-dish turkey feast and an ar­ray of de­lec­ta­ble desserts.

Peggy Grapes headed the team of Bul­wer Com­mu­nity Cen­tre mem­bers who pre­pared the sup­per. Peggy Roy headed ticket sales, dec­o­ra­tions, and pro­vided old-timey cos­tumes for vol­un­teers. To hearty ap­plause, Mur­ray read the names of 30 vol­un­teers who worked on this project. The last name was “the spirit of Lord Bul­wer-Lyt­ton, whose pen was might­ier than his let­ter opener.”

The project was a fund-raiser for the Bul­wer Com­mu­nity Cen­tre. Its pres­i­dent, Yvon Roy, said the sup­per raised $1,200 for the Cen­tre.

The win­ning sen­tences can be read on­line at http:// bul­w­er­pur­pleprose.word­press.com/. Plans are al­ready un­der­way for next year’s edi­tion of the Bul­wer Pur­ple Prose Project. The dead­line for sub­mis­sions is March 15, 2014. For in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Bul­w­erPPP@gmail.com.

From empty to full, the plates move down the row of 10 serv­ing dishes, from turkey to turnips to trim­mings. At right, Ghis­lain Bolduc, MNA for the Mé­gan­tic rid­ing, adds some cran­berry sauce to his plate.

Photo Rachel Gar­ber

Bul­wer Pur­ple Prose win­ners Su­san Mastine, Jerome Krause, Joyce Booth and Mead Baldwin rel­ish the re­wards of their la­bo­ri­ous writ­ing, in the com­pany of the evening’s master of cer­e­monies, Ross Mur­ray (right).

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