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Thursday
Sep082011

Dublin, Ep. 5

September 8, 2011 — On one of the great start-to-finish nights in Literary Death Match history, The Workman's Club's stage was lit with stars, and none shined brighter than Sarah Maria Griffin ("the Reggie Miller of Ireland") as she out-shined her equally excellent co-finalist Simon Ashe-Browne by 5-3 in a anti-book burning basketball shootout for the ages that snared her the LDM's ultimate prize. 

But well before the first book burner was crumpled and thrown, the magical night kicked off with Sweden-based Irish blogger/novelist/deep-thinker Philip O’Connor reading three inspired excerpts from his just-out-now book A Parish Far from Home. Following roars and manic applause, Sarah Maria Griffin took the stage with a bemused calm before reeling off three masterful poems with such graceful control, the entire room gasped with glee between moments of thrilled laughter. 

The mic was then turned over the all-star cast of judges, which included singstress Cathy Davey (the brain behind The Nameless), funnyman Jarlath Regan (TV presenter and stand-up celeb) and rising Irish literary star Trevor Byrne (author of Ghosts and Lightning).

They reeled off genius quips, with Byrne praising O'Connor's use of Ireland existing outside of Ireland, with Davey loving how O'Connor used the classic trick (that she sometimes uses) of beating himself up with the microphone, and for Sarah Maria Griffin, they had this to say (VIDEO). All was followed by an extended huddle, and the final result: a tough decision that sent Griffin on as the night's first finalist. 

After a booze- and flirt-fueled intermission, it was Tipperary anti-establishment poet Noel Sweeney, who led off with a pair of slam-style poems that had the crowd in throes, before writer-actor Simon Ashe-Browne (author of Sympathy For The Doc, shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize 2011), came on with a laugh-a-second excerpt from his next novel that featured Jack Nicholson mentions, comic voices, and a flood of laughter pouring forth from the audience. 

Again the judges were handed the mic, with Davey admitting reticence to critique Sweeney out of fear, while Regan praised Ashe-Browne's smarts and overall literary fantasticness, and Trevor Byrne equally admonishing both of the writers for their risk- and breathtaking poetry-and-prose. Faced with another tough decision, it was Regan who made the tough call of advancing Ashe-Browne as the night's second finalist. 

Then up stepped LDM creator Todd Zuniga, who tasked the two finalists with firing crumpled-up pictures of book burners through a Literary Death Match basketball hoop — the first to five to be crowned champ. It was Griffin who charged out to an early 2-0, but Ashe-Browne stormed back, finding his range to cut her lead in half. But suddenly, Griffin was within a shot of victory — her rebounding volunteer ("the Dennis Rodman of Dublin" doing the dirty work in the trenches — and while Ashe-Browne netted his third bucket, it was too late, as Griffin snapped off a nothing-but-the-bottom-of-the-net jumper that won her not only the Literary Death Match Dublin, Ep. 5 crown, but literary immortality to boot! 

 

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