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London, Ep. 4

February 24, 2010 — The Literary Death Matches 4th London episode at The Book Club — alongside the brilliant YARN Festival — was jam-packed with onlookers, levity, talent and enough smart-spun judging quips to make the whole matter a must-see. In the end, finalists Richard Milward (representing Faber) narrowly topped The Book Club Boutique's Salena Godden in a wild game of Springtime Olympic Cadbury Egg Bowling® that saw Milward fill both Jane Austen and W.B. Yeats wide maws with rolled choco-eggs, and thus raise himself to the rare standard of Literary Death Match immortality. 

But before the tense finale, the event — sponsored by Picador Books and Against Nature — kicked off in grand fashion, with a first round for the ages that pitted Godden against Nasty Little Press rep John Osborne. Godden stole the audience's attention by repeating the word "cock" throughout her single piece, while Osborne earned it back with a charming trio of poems, two from What if Men Burst in Wearing Balaclavas? 

The attention then turned to the night's trio of star judges, led by Rising Magazine's Tim Wells, TV presenter/actress writer Emma Kennedy, and singer/artist/writer Molly Carroll. While Kennedy admitted she wanted to adopt Osborne, Carroll was taken by Godden's fascination with, well, cock. After a lengthy huddle, the judges finally finished flipping their mental coins, and Godden was narrowly named the night's first finalist. 

After a boozy intermission the second round began with Pen Pusher's Anna Goodall taking over the hosting duties from Opium Magazine's Todd Zuniga. First up was Milward who read from his own Ten Storey Love Song, with a box (aka apartments) over his head, followed by Sophie Lewis, Litro Magazine's rep who read two pieces, one straight from Litro's latest issue.

Again the mic was turned over to the judges, with Kennedy kindly scolding Milward for covering up his face, and Lewis was lauded by Wells for how well she channeled the characters in the pieces she performed. After another difficult decision, Milward was selected to advance. 

Then came the finale, in which each combatant — Milward and Godden — were handed five Cadbury Eggs, and asked to be the first to roll them through the mouths of brilliant springtime scribes: Jane Austen, W.B. Yeats and Alan Titchmarsh. Milward came out firing, taking Round 1 (and a pixellated poster of Austen) with a stiff roll that landed him the lead. Then it was a back-and-forth battle for Yeats, though Milward seemingly wayward throw lipped in, after it seemed like a miss, devastating Godden's throng of fans, and sending Milward supporters into a frenzy as he was crowned the latest Literary Death Match champion.  Literary Death Match Sponsor 


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