How to write badly—a proud winner tells all

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.”

This piece of prose by Jim Gleeson— a “blend of awkward syntax, imminent disaster and bathroom humor [that] offends both good taste and the English language”—has trouced thousands of others in an annual contest that salutes bad writing and awards a $250 prize.

How did he do it?

“It’s like you take two thoughts that are not anything like each other and you cram them together by any means necessary,” Gleeson said.

Read the full story: Top prize for bad prose

Also read: The bad writing contest


  1. …can there any bad writting…then this….(its joke)….great ..i like it…

  2. Looks like we super evolved crows would be champions in these contests.

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