Wilde Wit Competition

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Wilde Wit Competition Winners

Oscar Wilde is one of the most-quoted people in the English language. He said so many clever and profound things that it’s easy to accept a witticism as one of Wilde’s — even if he never said it. Oscar Wilde Society members are often frustrated by quotes attributed to him, with these faux mots appearing online, in theatre programmes and on all manner of giftware.

But — as Oscar definitely didn’t say — if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. In March, we launched our first Wilde Wit Competition, in partnership with The Oldie magazine. The rules were simple: Write your own quote that sounds like something Oscar Wilde might have said.

Some of you were just waiting for this opportunity. More than 100 people sent in nearly 400 entries, ranging from the hilarious to the mildly profane (and sometimes both at once).

The Oscar Wilde Society committee were impressed by the tremendous variety and quality of sayings we received. In fact, our first round of voting only narrowed it down to 30 entries, and we required a second ballot to determine the winners. It should be noted that we reviewed all entries without knowing who had submitted them, to preserve our impartiality since several society members were amongst the contributors.

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Darcy Alexander Corstorphine wrote this winner, which not only deals with the unreliability of sayings attributed to Oscar, but has a paradox worthy of Wilde himself. Darcy wins an autographed copy of Oscar: A Life, the highly acclaimed new biography by Matthew Sturgis.

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Colin Mayo captured the symmetry of many Wildean aphorisms. He wins an autographed copy of The Oscar Wilde World of Gossip by Neil Titley.

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Darcy Alexander Corstorphine was clearly on a roll — the committee selected two of his entries, with this one conveying Wilde’s sometimes combative nature. He also wins an autographed copy of The Oscar Wilde World of Gossip by Neil Titley.

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Joke Kokkelkoren (an artist herself – check out www.jokekokkelkoren.com/) reminds us that Wilde witticisms can be profound as well as amusing. She wins an autographed copy of Oscar Wilde, a Vagabond with a Mission by Geoff Dibb.

The Oscar Wilde Society would also like to share the following runners-up:

“The advantage of marriage is that it makes adultery possible.” — Ashley Hugh Robins

“With regard to the protestant work ethic, I have always been a devout catholic.” — Tim Marshall

“The only thing worse than not finishing a witticism is      “ — David Binder

“I’m only human, and only just.” — John Larkin

Congratulations to our four winners, and thank you to everyone who entered. We hope you had fun — we certainly had fun reading your creative contributions, many of which could easily pass for a genuine slice of Wilde wit!

Want More Wilde?

If Wildean wit tickles your fancy, consider joining the Oscar Wilde Society, where members explore the many sides of Wilde through events, performances and regular publications.

Society events include:

  • Lectures, readings and discussions
  • Visits to places associated with Wilde
  • An annual lunch in Oxford
  • An annual Birthday Dinner in London

Members also receive three publications, including our peer-reviewed journal The Wildean, which contains original research and articles by Wilde scholars and experts.

Learn more on our membership page.