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Saturday
Apr262014

Hartford, Ep. 1

April 26, 2014 — In one of the most thrilling debuts we could imagine, Literary Death Match headed to the Mark Twain House in Hartford, where Julia Pistell outdueled Jon Sands in LDM's Literary Spelling Bee II by the narrowest of margins to win Pistell the LDM Hartford, Ep. 1 crown. 

But before the finale was even a thought, the night kicked off with Dan Wilbur, comedian, author of How Not to Read, and curator of Better Book Titles, who read a comedic piece about filling out a blood donor questionnaire. Next was Pistell, 2011 Arts and Heritage Jobs grant recipient, founder of Syllable and co-creator of Literary Disco, who went the non-fiction route — telling the perfect-pitch tale of karaokeing "Lose Yourself" by Eminem with a 9-year-old with two broken arms. 

The mic was then handed to the trio of all-star judges: Matthew Dicks, author of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend and Unexpectedly, MiloElna Baker, performer and author of The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance; and Bob Shea, author of Dinosaur v. Bedtime and and cult favorite Big PlansThe three ripped off a series of dazzling commentary, praising both writers in all kinds of verbally acrobatic ways — much of it focused on Connecticut clothing — before deciding it would be Pistell who would advance as the night's first finalist. 

Next was Round 2, which was led off by Iris Smyleswho wowed with an excerpt from Iris Has Free Time that merged brain science and a relationship in turmoil. Finally it was Jon Sands, performance poet and author of The New Clean, and star of the award-winning web-series “Verse: A Murder Mystery”, who read a minute-long poetic wonder before finishing with a heartaching story about a boy touching his first boob. 

Again the judges were handed the mic, and again they delivered with praise and wild associations before deciding it would be Sands who would advance as the night's second finalist. 

Then up stepped LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga to announce the night's finale: Literary Spelling Bee II. The two finalists were tasked with spelling more and more complicated author names. After Pistell took an early lead, Sands crawled back, and with all to play for came up only one letter short of forcing overtime before it was Pistell who was announced as the winner of LDM Hartford, Ep. 1, winner her the prized medal and literary immortality to go with it.

Follow us on Twitter: @litdeathmatch

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