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Calgary, Ep. 1

October 15, 2013 — In a debut for the Canadiann ages, Literary Death Match saddled up at Calgary's WordFest for a Stampede City showcase that ended with D.W. Wilson narrowly out-guessing co-finalist Lisa Moore by a score of 8-7 in a rambunctious game of Canadian Lit Pictionary to win Wilson the LDM Calgary, Ep. 1 crown. 

But before the chisel-tipped Sharpies were unleashed, the night kicked off with Moore (the award-winning author of 2013 Canada Reads Winner February and the novel Caught) telling an wowingly clever story of a drive through the weird and wild of the US of A. Next up was Alan Silberberg (author of The Awesome, Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz) who opened with a poetic journal excerpt before delivering an excerpt from his book Milo: Sticky Notes & Brain Freeze that had the audience in awe. 

The mic was then handed to the trio of all-star judges: Will Ferguson, Giller-winning author of 419 & Beyond Belfast (Leaock Medal for Humour); David Macfarlane, journalist, playwright and author of the Giller-shortlisted Summer Gone; and Ophira Eisenberg, stand-up comedian and author of Screw Everyone. The three energetically delivered sharp-brained praise and commentary that had the audience in throes, before finally huddling and deciding that it would be Moore who would advance to be the night's first finalist. 

After a cheerfully boozy intermission, Round 2 commenced with a challenge: award-winning writers D.W. Wilson and Todd Babiak both decided they would perform off-book. Wilson (author of Once You Break a Knuckle, and 2011 BBC National Short Story winner) told the true story of his father winning a silent auction in Paris that led to a hysterically botched trip rife with champagne gifts. Finally, it was Todd Babiak, award-winning author of Come Barbarians & founder of Story Engine) who delivered a jaw-droppingly funny story about legendary Islanders goalie Billy Smith stalking and murdering each member of Babiak's family. 

Again, the judges were under the spotlight, praising Babiak's pocket square, lauding Wilson's beer bottle prop work, and after another impossible decision was to be made, it was Wilson who was advanced as the night's second finalist. 

Then LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage to announce the night's raucous finale: Canadian Lit Pictionary, in which audience members were tasked with drawing the titles of great Canadian books. After a wild series of rounds, Moore stood with a commanding 7-3 lead, but with five points still on the table, Wilson shouted out Alice Munro's Lives of Girls & Women before Moore could, completing an epic comeback that won D.W. Wilson the Literary Death Match Calgary, Ep. 1 crown, and literary immortality to go with it. 

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