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Edinburgh, Ep. 9

May 14, 2015 — In preparation for our first-ever Edinburgh Fringe run in August (23rd-30th), Literary Death Match headed to the The Mash House for a calamity of the highest literary-witerary-oddballerary order that finished with Graeme Macrae Burnet outdueling Lucy Ribchester in a hotly-contested battle of Literary Spelling Bee II that won Burnet the LDM Edinburgh, Ep. 9 crown. 

But before the finale was even a thought, the brilliant night kicked off with Dave Hook, frontman of Scottish hip-hop act Stanley Odd, who belted out a pair of pieces that ranged from finding out you're going to be a dad when hungover to a poem about a mum who loved drawing who has gone missing. Next up it was Graeme Macrae Burnet, award-winning author of The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau, who read from his new book about the case of Roderick McCrae.

The mic was then handed to the trio of star judges: Rachel McCrum, performance poet extraordinaire and Rally & Broad ringmaster; Fergus McCann, actor who judged as Robert Louis Stevenson; and stand-up comedian Jay Lafferty. McCrum said of Hook's work that it was "Irvine Welsh meets the social commentary of Jane Austen." Robert Louis Stevenson said, "I don't know what rap is but I think I like it." About Burnet, McCrum praised his stylish demonisation of urban working class, while Lafferty admitted "ignominy" (which Burnet used) was the sort of word you can only say when you're pissed.

Then the judges huddled, before revealing that Burnet would advance by the narrowest of margins over Hook. 

Then came Round 2, with Lucy Ribchester, Costa Short Story shortlistee and author of The Hourglass Factory, who had the crowd on the edge of their seat as she told a riveting tale set in Bletchley in 1942. Finally, it was Rebecca Green, artist and spoken word maverick, who entranced with a pair of pieces that came out as a rampant series of sounds, intermixed with poignant statements about her father, and a book about the Romanovs that she hadn't read. 

Again the judges took center stage, with McCrum loving Ribchester's use of the word "shunt" and saying her work held the unspoken tension of Nabokov and culinary delights of Delia Smith, while Lafferty said Ribchester reminded her of a young, sexy Blondie. Robert Louis Stevenson then went on to heap praise on Green, and her excellent percussiveness. Lafferty closed the genius commentary by saying Green "would do well as the poet laureate of IKEA" as her second poem reminded Lafferty of her favourite orgasm.

After another painful deliberation the judges emerged to announce Ribchester would be the night's second finalist. 

Then up stepped LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga, who brought up LDM Edinburgh producer Vikki Reilly and LDM London producer Suzanne Azzopardi to assist in Literary Spelling Bee II, in which Burnet and Ribchester were tasked with spelling increasingly difficult author names. It was a tight affair from the start, and with everything to play for, Ribchester used her phone-a-friend, but it didn't get her the points needed, and Burnet claimed the LDM Edinburgh, Ep. 9 medal and literary immortality to go with it.