Our inaugural writer's tournament has come to its conclusion! Thank you to all of you who voted - it was a lot of fun, and led to some fascinating conversations on the merits of one writer over another. While it was all just for fun, it really did make us think about what it is we look for in a written work. What is that mysterious combination of ingredients that makes one work a classic and the next a failure? It's hard to say, but these arguments of style versus substance will stick with us, especially as we consider the work of our champion: Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code.
Brown's victory took us all by surprise, partly because of the critical backlash against his work, but also because Brown was not among the 64 candidates entered into the tournament. Brown's victory comes as the result of a passionate write-in effort, staged in the waning hours of the competition. At first, we determined that the write-in votes should not count, but when the sum total of Brown's votes more than doubled the number of votes that either of our finalists received, throughout the entire tournament, we knew we had a difficult decision to make. An emergency staff meeting was held. Arguments ran late into the night. Just after midnight on April 1st, a decision was reached, and Brown was declared the victor.
Though we recognize that this decision may be controversial, we'd urge our readers to take a second consideration of Dan Brown as a writer. Who can deny the transcendent beauty of this passage from The Da Vinci Code?
"He could taste the familiar tang of museum air - an arid, deionized essence that carried a faint hint of carbon - the product of industrial, coal-filter dehumidifiers that ran around the clock to counteract the corrosive carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors."
Or this haunting description, from Deception Point:
"Overhanging her precarious body was a jaundiced face whose skin resembled a sheet of parchment paper punctured by two emotionless eyes."
"Only those with a keen eye would notice his 14-karat gold bishop's ring with purple amethyst, large diamonds, and hand-tooled mitre-crozier appliqué."
And one more:
"Captain Bezu Fache carried himself like an angry ox, with his wide shoulders thrown back and his chin tucked hard into his chest. His dark hair was slicked back with oil, accentuating an arrow-like widow's peak that divided his jutting brow and preceded him like the prow of a battleship. As he advanced, his dark eyes seemed to scorch the earth before him, radiating a fiery clarity that forecast his reputation for unblinking severity in all matters."
With prose that clear and elegant, there really never was another choice. Congratulations to Dan Brown, who you, our readers, have determined is a better writer than 64 other authors throughout history, including Kurt Vonnegut, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, Allen Ginsberg, and William Shakespeare.