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Thursday
Oct252012

Helsinki, Ep. 2

October 25, 2012 — On a lit-rich night filled with wonder and oddball surprise, Literary Death Match's return to Korjaamo Culture Factory finished in high-octane fashion as Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize-nominee Eeva Rohas out-swished Karo Hämäläinen 5-3 in a wild Book Burning Basketball finale that won Rohas the LDM Helsinki's second-ever crown. 

But before the finale was even a consideration, the all-Finnish-but-the-host event kicked off with Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize-nominee Rohas (author of Syvä pää"The Deep End"), who read about a woman who was on holiday somewhere warm, before the location switched back to a university classroom in Finland, and at one point, Rohas broke into song (after spiking her book angrily down). Next up was Tiiliskivi and Kalevi Jäntti Literary Prize-winning author Marko Hautala (The Self-Illuminated Ones and Shrouds), who opened his reading by putting on a white medical jacket. He then went on to read an exceprt was about a mental institution and the patients there (Hautala had worked as a mental institution when he was younger, and the the jacket helped him to get into the perfect mood. 

The mic was then handed over to the night's trio of all-star judges: the amazing TV presenter Baba Lybeck, director/screenwriter/novelist Markus Nummi (author of the 2010 Finlandia Award-nominated Karkkipäivä), and journalist/author Ari Lahdenmäki.

About Rohas, they loved the fact that she took a chance to sing, and were all-in with how the mood of her piece changed after the song. About Hautala, the judges applauded his simple but elaborate narration.After a difficult deliberation, the trio finally decided that it would be Rohas — by a hair! — to advance as the night's first finalist. 

After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 kicked off with spoken word mastermind Suvi Valkonen (a.k.a. Yavis) who delivered a pitch-perfect (and in-English performance) that had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Next up was 2012 Tampere Literary Prize-winner Karo Hämäläinen (author of The Buyout and editor-in-chief of Kiiltomato) who read an economics-inspired piece that made the second round too close to call. 

Again, the judges were in the spotlight, with Nummi deeming Valkonen's trio of masterworks as a "triptych," while all three judges praised Hämäläinen for live-editing his work, which he did several times (like adding in names of the people in the show). Again, with two brilliant readers to choose from, the judges struggled, but emerged announcing that it would be Hämäläinen who would be the night's second finalist. 

Then host and LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage to announce the night's finale: Book-Burning Basketball, in which the two finalists were asked to crumple pictures of book burnings from the past, and throw them through a flaming basketball hoop (well, the hoop wasn't actually on fire). Rohas and Hämäläinen traded scores early, but suddenly Rohas took on a Kobe Bryant-like accuracy, netting two in a row to pull away and win not only the Literary Death Match Helsinki, Ep. 2 crown, but literary immortality to go with it. 

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