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Edinburgh, Ep. 5 (Book Festival)

August 17th, 2012 — In a wild and triumphant return to the outstanding Edinburgh Book Festival's Unbound program, Literary Death Match — sponsored by Picador — was a talent-rich spectacle, as a sold-out audience witnessed Israeli superstar Etgar Keret outduel performance poet Catherine Brogan in a Literary Triathlon by a narrow 2-1 margin, winning him the Literary Death Match Edinburgh crown. 

But before the Olympic-sized finale was even a thought, the night kicked off with Etgar Keret (a frontrunner for LDM's Book of the Year with Suddenly, A Knock on the Door) reading his amazing story: "What Kind of Animal Are You?" Next up was Desmond Elliot Prize-winning author and Man Booker Prize long-listee Nikita Lalwani (author of Gifted) who read from her new novel The Village with brilliant poise and magnificent quiet. 

The mic was then turned over to the trio of all-star judges: performer/playwright/poet Sabrina Mahfouz (star of One Hour Only at the Edinburgh Fringe), and critic/broadcaster/writer Bidisha (author of Beyond the Wall: Writing a Path Through Palestine (Manifestos for the Twenty-first Century), and Irish comedian Jarlath Regan (creator of the hilarious Jigser greeting cards). 

The judges traded praise aplenty for both readers, but after masterful quips — Regan calling out Keret for charming the audience by faulting his accident; Mahfouz loving Lalwani's steadiness — they huddled and decided it would be Keret who would advance as the night's first finalist.

Then came Round 2, in which BBC Edinburgh Fringe Poetry Slam Winner 2011 Catherine Brogan brought a drum and a fantastic series of poems to center stage, energizing the crowd. Finally, it was Rodge Glass (the Somerset Maugham Award-winning Alasdair Gray: A Secretary's Biography) read an impassioned excerpt about the boringness of footballers in interviews from his book Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs

Again the mic was given over to the judges, with Bidisha lauding Brogan's performative chops, while Mahfouz admitted she was lost at Glass's first offering of the word football, though Regan admitted he loved everything about football, balancing things out. Again, another difficult vote took place in their huddle, and when they emerged it was Brogan who was announced as the night's second finalist. 

Then LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage and presented the Olympiad-style finale: literary triathlon! For starters, Keret and Brogan did a book shotput that put Brogan in the easy lead, but Keret and Randon Audience Member outperformed Team Brogan in a Synchronized Reading event (in which they both were forced to synchronizedly act out a scene from Miranda July's short story "This Person"). Keret won by the slimmest margin imaginable of .06! Finally, it came down to literary archery, in which they both had two shots to "kiss" 1932 Olympic literary gold medalist Paul Bauer with a lipstick-tipped arrow. With Keret having hit the edge of Bauer's cheek, it was Brogan's to win...but an errant arrow secured the victory for Kerete, who not only won the Literary Death Match Edinburgh Book Festival crown, but literary immortality to go with it! 

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    Football is genuinely one of the largest sports in America. It has a main following.
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    Football is actually a single of the greatest sports in America. It has a major following.
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    Edinburgh, Ep. 5 (Book Festival) - Journal - Literary Death Match
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