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Austin, Ep. 5

October 27, 2012 — On a winter-cool Saturday afternoon, Literary Death Match returned to the Texas Book Festival (and Austin's gorgeous Paramount Theatre) for a knockout masterpiece that saw the amazing Kambri Crews outduel the beloved Bob Shea in a Literary Spelling Bee by a final score of 13-5, winning her the LDM Austin, Ep. 5 crown.

But before the Solzhenitsyn had foiled Shea's championship attempt, the afternoon kicked off with Kate Payne (author of The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking) leading things off by showing the audience how to fold a fitted sheet (it was, seriously, captivating). Then up stepped her opponent, Kambri Crews (author of Burn Down the Ground) who read an awesome excerpt of her book about her deaf parents that had the crowd simultaneously laughing + moved.

Then the mic was then passed to the trio of all-star judges: character actor/author Stephen Tobolowsky (The Dangerous Animals Club), Dylan Thomas prize-longlister and LA Times 2012 "Face to Watch" Amelia Gray (author of Threats), and Austin's finest funnyman Owen Egerton (author of The Book of Harold: The Illegitimate Son of God). The trio traded myriad quips, with Tobolowsky appreciating the boldness of Payne taking a drink of vodka mid-performance "from that water bottle" while Payne's folding of a sheet had Gray citing Joyce Carol Oates, and asking: What is literature? Finally, Egerton ranted in wild fashion about Crews general epicness. And in the end, after a tense few minutes, the trio emerged to announce Crews as the event's first finalist. 

Then came Round 2, with Diana López reading a stunning piece from her must-read novel Choke, followed by two-time LDM finalist Bob Shea (author of Dinosaur vs. Santa) who brought a unicorn onto the stage as his storytelling sidekick, which had the audience in stitches. 

Again the judges took the mic, with all three wowed by the on-stage antics of Shea, and in love with López's prose. And after a series of spoken hilarities, Shea was announced as the day's second finalist. 

Then LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage, announcing the finale: Literary Spelling Bee. Crews fired out to an early lead, while Shea's use of his Phone-a-Friend left him behind late. But with everything to win, Shea couldn't unravel the spelling of Solzhelnitsyn, and it was Crews who was crowned champion, winning not only the Literary Death Match Austin crown, but literary immortality to go with it. 

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