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Brattleboro, Ep. 3

October 3, 2014 — In our annual visit to amazing Vermont, we once again teamed with the Brattleboro Literary Festival, for a no-knockdown, no-dragout, all-wowing literary and comedic humdinger at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden that ended with Julia Fierro narrowly outdueling Julie Wu in a Lone Star Lit finale, winning Fierro the LDM Brattleboro, Ep. 3 crown. 

But before the final battle began, the night kicked off with the exceptional Phil KlayMarine Corps veteran of the Iraq War and author of the short-story collection Redeployment, who delivered a pitch-perfect story about not wanting to talk about Iraq, but how there was a sad or funny way to tell each story. Next it was the inimitable Julie Wu (author of The Third Son and recipient of a 2012 Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship) who debuted a story about the removal of her uterus, which opened with, "I'm not fat. I have fibroids."  

The mic was then handed to the trio of all-star judges: Paul Muldoon, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet of Moy Sand and Gravel, New Yorker poetry editor; Ophira Eisenberg, comedian, host of NPR's Ask Me Another, author of Screw Everyone; and Tim Federle, award-winning author of Better Nate than Never and former Broadway dancer. The threesome ripped off a series of praise-riddled, hilarious comments about each author before deciding that it would be Wu who would advance as the night's first finalist. 

Then came Round 2, which featured spitfire Julia Fierro, author of the novel Cutting Teeth and the founder of The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, who told the tale of a wife encouraging her husband to get guy friends after the birth of their child. Finally, it was the awe-striking Blake Nelson, author of 13 novels, including Paranoid Park and The Prince of Venice Beach, who had the crowd on the edge of their chairs with an evocative story of a 16-year-old girl in rehab. 

Again the judges were center stage, and after more joy-inducing quips (like Federle's mention of "the ghost of Blake Nelson — why he died fifty years ago!"), and cheers aplenty, it was Fierro who was advanced as the night's second finalist. 

Then LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage, announcing the night's finale: Lone Star Lit — a game in which Zuniga read off 1-star Amazon book reviews written about classic books. The finalists, teamed with volunteers, traded points, and with everything to play for, it was Team Fierro who slapped the bell first, nailing the final answer, winning her the LDM Brattleboro, Ep. 3 crown, and literary immortality to go with it. 

Follow us on Twitter: @litdeathmatch

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