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DC, Ep. 3

March 7, 2012 — In a 6-Year Anniversary to remember (presented by 826DC), a end-to-end night of fantasticism ended with Amber Sparks dramatically toppling Scott McClanahan in a Literary Spelling Bee by a final score of 19-18, winniner her the Literary Death Match DC, Ep. 3 crown. 

But before the first tough-to-spell literary name was even a consideration, the night began with PEN/Joyce Osterweil for Poetry Award-nominee Molly Gaudry (author of We Take Me Apart) squaring off against Top 50 Very Short Fictions of 2011-writer Sparks. Gaudry read a short, magically prosaic prose poem to kick things off, followed by a much-contrasting Sparks who was a whirling wonderment of dynamism as she sparkled through her reading.

The mic was then handed to the night's trio of all-star judges that featured the whip-smart Ed Ugel (author of I'm With Fatty and Money for Nothing), the Washington Post's humor blogger Alexandra Petri, and the brilliant host of the You, Me, Them, Everybody live talk show Brandon Wetherbee. The three adored the dark and quieter stylings of Gaudry, but felt like the political power in Sparks work was slightly more appealing. Thus, after a violent deliberation, it was Sparks who was selected as the night's first finalist. 

After a boozy intermission Round 2 kicked off with short story mastermind Scott McClanahan (author of Stories V!), up against Huffington Post associate editor Arin Greenwood (author of Tropical Depression). McClanahan was a firestarter, ripping through his story with a machine gun-style, before he paused, pulled out an audio player, and finished his story while walking around in the crowd. Greenwood was unfazed. She punched back with a piece that had everyone in the room on their seat's edge — even the standing ones! 

The mic was again passed to the judges, who adored McClanahan's ferocity, fell for Greenwood's everything, but after another difficult round of voting, it was McClanahan who was pushed along as the night's second finalist. 

Then up-stepped LDM creator Todd Zuniga who introduced the night's finale: a Literary Spelling Bee. After four rounds — plus one LDM Helsinki-inspired bonus round — McClanahan held a seemingly-insurmountable nine point lead, with Sparks having to be near-perfect to win literature's wildest prize. She was just that, nailing 10 letters straight from Aleksander Solzhelnitsyn's last name to win the LDM DC, Ep. 3 crown, and literary immortality along with it! 

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