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Boston, Ep. 6

November 17, 2011 — On a drizzly Boston night, it was raining talent inside OBERON, as the knock-down, drag-out finale saw Courtney Maum outduel co-finalist William Giraldi by a final score of 17-10, in an audience-wowing literary spelling bee that won Maum the Literary Death Match crown. 

But before the finale was even a thought, Round One kicked off with LDM Boston producer Kirsten Sims introducing Sarah Braunstein, who warmed up the mic with an addictively melancholy and meticulous tour of small town fair grounds from her novel, The Sweet Relief of Missing Children, after which Courtney Maum (author of the short story collection Small Things in Big Places) paired two frank and smirking pieces that had everyone Tweeting praise and texting fathers overdue affection.

The mic was then handed to our trio of all-star judges: Ron Currie Jr. (author of God is Dead and Everything Matters!), artist/illustrator/performer/children’s book author Cynthia von Buhler, and the enchanting comic artist Liz Prince (author of Will You Still Love Me if I Wet the Bed?). They reflected, conferred, and ultimately concluded that Philip Roth would be proud, parenthood is somewhat horrifying, and Maum should advance to the final round. The audience roared a woozy whisky-breath blend of approval, outrage, and attempts to flag the waitress as intermission garnered impatience for the next set of readers.

After the intermission, it was Billy Giraldi (author of Busy Monsters) who took the mic next. Then took it again. And again. And again — without ever stopping or stepping away, and that mic gave it up gladly every time. Matthew Salesses (author of The Last Repatriate), perhaps knowing such a high-energy rhythmic pace was unmatchable, opted to stand perfectly still instead, letting a disco ball and his sad-funny-sad prose do the rocking for him. We all felt a little adopted and a little divorced for it after, yet were somehow laughing all the same.

Forced to choose a winner between them, the judges searched their own teenage memories, their insatiable desire for literal pantomiming of verbs, and even pulled some enthusiastic thespians on stage to demonstrate PG-13 passion.

In the end, LDM creator Todd Zuniga introduce the finale, in which Giraldi faced Maum for the final round, where eventually Maum took the title by correctly spelling enough literary surnames to prove her own as worthy among them, winning not only the Literary Death Match crown, but literary immortality to go with it. 

Follow LDM on Twitter and/or Facebook now! 

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