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Glasgow, Ep. 1

April 14, 2011 — Our epic Glasgow debut with Cargo Publishing at The Arches went final after Team Alan Bissett outscored Team Tim Turnbull in a thrilling game of Literary Memory (featuring the best in Scottish writers). The final scoreline was 6-5, earning Bissett the Literary Death Match crown. 

But well before the finale, the night kicked off with an electric first round pitting Bissett (author of Death of a Ladies' Man) against multi-award-shortlisted wordsmith Helen FitzGerald (author of Dead Lovely). FitzGerald led off in genius fashion, before Bissett went off-page to deliver a piece from his "one-woman" show, The Moira Monologues

The all-star judges were then turned to: all-world poet Liz Lochhead (the second-ever Scots Makar, a.k.a. national poet); performer/playwright/novelist/comedian Ian Macpherson (author of the forthcoming The Autobiography of a Genius — August, 2011), and Mark Buckland, the mastermind behind Cargo Publishing. After reeling off a series of humorous barbs, the judges huddled and decided, after much consideration, that Bissett was to be the night's first finalist. 

After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 commenced with journalist/fictionist/future-novelist Kirstin Innes (Words Per Minute producer) going head-to-head against performance poet Tim Turnbull (author of Caligula on Ice and Other Poems). After Innes rocked with an excerpt from her story from the masterful The Year of Open Doors collection, Turnbull came up and delivered an unparalleled performance, dashing out a pair of poems — one exalting Dionysus. 

The mic again went to the judges, with Macpherson referring to "a slight conflict of interest" with judging Innes, after he revealed his belief that the hunkiest character in her story was based on him. As for Turnbull, Lochhead felt Turnbull's work "took no prisoners," while Buckland admitted Dionysus was his friend, though he didn't like him so much that morning, while Macpherson found Turnbull's work "pleasingly impenetrable." After another difficult huddle, the night's second finalist was deemed to be Tim Turnbull. 

Then came a wild finale that had pairs of seven brilliant Scottish writers held by 14 volunteers on stage. The finalists were each given half the audience, and then host and LDM creator Todd Zuniga shuffled through the crowd asking for people to pick two people on stage. Bissett jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead before Team Turnbull gently turned the tide to make it 4-2, but then Team Bissett put the game out of reach for good with a pair of quick scores, making it 6-2. Turnbull's comeback was in vain, as he fell 6-5, and Bissett not only took the LDM medal, but literary immortality was all his. 

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