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Boston, Ep. 11 (at AWP)

March 8, 2013 — In an AWP classic to remember, Literary Death Match's 7-Year Spectacular — presented by Painted Bride Quarterly & Brookline Booksmith — threw caution to the win, and cupcakes, too as the wild finale featured finalists Andre Dubus III and Sarah Shun-lien Bynum in Cupcake Shootout that Dubus won by a "George Saunders soul patch," winning the LDM Boston, Ep. 11 at AWP crown!

But before the finale was even a consideration, the night shot off to a brilliant start with Thomas Sayers Ellis, author of Skin, Inc. (and a Whiting Writers' Award winner/co-founder of The Dark Room Collective) who used a saxophonist accompaniment as he kung-fu-maneuvered through his crowd-enthralling poetics. Next up was Andre Dubus III, New York Times best-selling author of House of Sand and Fog, who rocked up to the mic and delivered a perfectly-tenored excerpt about being arrested from his staggeringly good new Townie: A Memoir

The mic was then handed over to the night's trio of all-star judges: Parul Sehgal (editor at The New York Times Book Review), Tony Hoagland (author of What Narcissism Means to Me and a National Book Critics Circle finalist), and Boston comedian Steve Macone (The Onion contributor and New Yorker cartoonist). The three traded quick quips, and heaped on gobs of praise before they huddled and decided, by the narrowest of margins, that it would be Dubus III who would advance as the night's first finalist. 

After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 kicked off with Sarah Shun-lien Bynum (author of Ms. Hempel ChroniclesNational Book Award & Pen/Faulkner finalist; and a New Yorker 20 Under 40) who delivered a quietly-said coming-of-age short story excerpt about the power of radio that had the audience in throes of wonder. Finally, it was Amelia Gray (author of Threats and Museum of the Weird, a Dylan Thomas Prize long-listee) who had just been announced as a Pen/Faulkner finalist. She read a two-narrator piece that featured motorcycles, dictators, and the crowd whooping with delight when it was said and finished. 

Again the judges were center stage, and faced with the night's second impossible decision, they announced that it would be Bynum who would advance as the second finalist. 

LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga then hopped on stage, and presented a poster of his co-favorite author: George Saunders, singing praises about Saunders' latest: The Tenth of December. Both Bynum and Dubus III were then handed a set of three cupcakes, one vanilla, the other chocolate. The two then traded tosses of the cupcakes — with a volunteer thrower in the mix for good measure. The goal: to have their icing color closest to Saunders' mouth. After three throws, Dubus III's wicked cutter outmatched Bynum's daunting slider, and he was declared champion, given the LDM Boston, Ep. 11 medal, and literary immortality was all his. 

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Reader Comments (1)

It's taken me a month, but really enjoyed my first Literary Death Match in Boston and finally posted about the experience on my blog:

Looking forward to seeing it on TV!


April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSherri Cook Woosley

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