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Saturday
Oct222011

Austin, Ep. 4

October 22, 2011 — In what will go down in literary history as a Texas Book Festival classic, Literary Death Match held court at the Paramount Theatre with an uber-all-star lineup, and before a packed house of 470, Martha Hall Foose outscored Charles Yu 2,589 to 2,504 in a Books by Numbers finale that won Foose the Literary Death Match crown. 

But before finale, the afternoon event kicked off co-host Owen Egerton introducing the nights' first two readers, Yu (author of How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe and Third Class Superhero), and New Yorker's 20 Under 40ist Karen Russell (author of Swamplandia! and St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves). Yu went with an excerpt showcasing the love affair between a time machine repair man and his computer’s operating system, while Russell chronicled the story of an awkward teen’s first sexual experience (from the point of view of a “red-headed virginal dork”). 

Then the mic was turned over to the all-star trio of judges: Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club and Damned), songstress Lisa Loeb (author of Lisa Loeb's Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs), and #1 best-seller/award-winning author Adam Mansbach (author of Go the Fuck to Sleep and The End of the Jews). Of Yu, Mansbach said, “That was dope, bro,” while Palahniuk answered his cell phone during his judging efforts, fielding a call from God. In the end, the Yu was selected as the afternoon's first finalist.

Then came Round 2, which pitted young-adult novelist Libba Bray (author of The Gemma Doyle Trilogy) against  cookbook author Martha Hall Foose (Screen Doors and Sweet Tea). Bray led off with an excerpt from her novel of beauty pageant contestants turned plane crash survivors, followed by Foose, who first handed the judges homemade fudge, then delivered a thickly-drawled story about the different way she's cooked eggs.

The judges again were handed the mic, with Loeb praising Bray (referencing her own history with acting classes), while Mansbach admitted he was unimpressed with the Paramount's green room. Again, Palahniuk took phone calls from God. In the end, Foose was declared the final finalist. 

Then came a finale, in which LDM creator and co-host Todd Zuniga tasked Yu and Foose with selecting from 17 different pictures of authors, all of who had written books with numbers in the titles, with their scores escalating each time a picture was turned. It was Foose who scored the knockout blow with Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "100 Years of Solitude," too much for Joseph Heller's "Catch-22" to make a difference. Foose was crowned champ, winning not only the Literary Death Match medal, but literary immortality to boot! 

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Reader Comments (1)

I absolutely can not wait until til this weekend to meet you, Chuck! Best literary genius of ALL TIME!!!

October 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSelphyne

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