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Berkshires, Ep. 2

April 24, 2015 — In what was a triumph of great literary and oddball magnitude, Literary Death Match returned to Edith Wharton's The Mount — our second event in her stable! — for what a chilly, magical night of exceeding talent and wiseacre whimsy that ended with Jedediah Berry outlasting Courtney Maum in sudden death overtime in a wild battle of Literary Spelling Bee II to win Berry the LDM Berkshires, Ep. 2 crown. 

But before the finale was even a consideration, the night kicked off with poet Arda Collins (winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize), who delighted with a series of poems from her award-winning collection It Is DaylightThen it was time for Berry, author of The Manual of Detection & Crawford Award and Dashiell Hammett Prize winner, who read a brilliant story hand-written onto a giant scroll about aliens on earth in the hunt for human souls.

Then the mic was handed over to the night's trio of star judges: Paul La FargeCalifornia Book Award-winning author of The Artist of the Missing and Luminous AirplanesJenny Zigrino, comedian nominated for Boston's Best & featured on IFC's Young, Broke, and Beautiful; and Sue Smith, comedian voted one of the 10 Funniest Women in NYC by TimeOut New York. The three traded quips, praise and delights about each of the opening round authors before making the night's first way-difficult decision, before announcing Berry would be the night's first finalist. 

Then came Round 2, led off by Ron Currie, Jr., author of Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles and Everything Matters!, who read a fantastic satire about Wrangler jeans' new marketing plan targeted at hobos. Finally it was Maum, author of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You & humor columnist for Electric Lit, who told the engaging tale of going to a podiatrist while visiting France. 

Again the judges were center stage, as they lauded and gently jeered each author in wonderful ways before deciding the night's second finalist would be Maum. 

The LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga stepped up to announce the night's finale: Literary Spelling Bee II, in which Berry and Maum were tasked with spelling increasingly difficult author names. After Maum was perfect for the first sixteen letters, Berry tied it up late, forcing overtime. As the two were set to trade letters of Orham Pamuk, Berry scored, then Maum stumbled, winning Berry the LDM Berkshires, Ep. 2 medal, and literary immortality to go with it.