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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Literary Death Match: So Wrong It's Fun

Posted By on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 4:08 PM

The crowning of a Literary Death Match champion: D.W. Powell - TIMOTHY FAUST
  • Timothy Faust
  • The crowning of a Literary Death Match champion: D.W. Powell

The stereotypical literary reading is about as thrilling as televised fly-fishing or maybe even C-Span: Tweed-jacketed professorial types mumbling through their work, struggling to be heard over the crickets outside and struggling to resist the inattention captivating the audience. Unlike many stereotypes, there's more than a bit of truth to that one, which is why we're grateful for the literature-as-bloodsport approach of the Literary Death Match. It introduces cutthroat competition and high stakes to readings, like an Ultimate Fighting Championship for word nerds.

Literary Death Match champion Jamie DeWolf shares the glory with finalist Sarah Wisby. - TIMOTHY FAUST
  • Timothy Faust
  • Literary Death Match champion Jamie DeWolf shares the glory with finalist Sarah Wisby.

The next LDM takes place Friday night at the Elbo Room. Queer pulp novelist Monica Nolan, poet Geoff Bouvier,

self-avowed straight male expert John Scott, and The Aristobrats author

Jennifer Solow each have seven minutes to assert their storytelling

dominance. The panel of judges includes former Chronicle book editor

Oscar Villalon, novelist April Sinclair, and Sam Barry of HarperOne

books.

The format inspires obvious comparisons to American Idol, and

while the judges are encouraged to bring the Simon Cowell-esque quips,

the overall tone is more about quick wit and constructive criticism than

glib assholery.

The top two contenders who withstand the slings and

arrows and dominate the competition face off at the end of the evening

in a wild competition that draws more inspiration from the kids' game

show Double Dare than the sleepy readings of yesteryear.

Literary Death Match starts at 7:15 p.m. Friday at the Elbo Room. Admission is $7-$10.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section.


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Paul M. Davis

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