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Helsinki, Ep. 3

May 28, 2013 — In our third-ever trip to glorious Helsinki, Literary Death Match returned to our Finland home at Korjaamo where literary and comedic fireworks were ignited, en route to Salla Simukka outdueling Katri Lipson in a nip-and-tuck game of Finlandia Prize Pictionary by a margin of 11-4 to win the LDM Helsinki, Ep. 3 crown. 

But before the finale was even a consideration, the night kicked off with Katja Kallio reading from her sensual book Säkenöivät hetket, as she lowered herself to sit, then lay, on the stage in a white summer dress, as if on a beach sunbathing. Next up was Simukka, who read from one of the works in her thriller trilogy, inviting the audience to take clothes off as she read at a brilliantly fast pace. 

The mic was then passed to the trio of amazing judges: Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo (Runeburg prize-winning author of Fem knivar hade Andrej Krapl, Söderströms); Jani Toivola (TV presenter, actor, dancer and member of Finnish parliament); and stand-up comedian Tomi Walamies. Toivola charmed the audience with his flamboyant physical imitations of all the authors’ presentations, while Taivassalo adopted the attitude of legendary rock star and Idols judge, Mike Monroe, shouting out "Yeah, literature!" in the spirit of Monroes usual “Yeah, rock n’ roll”. Walamies dropped clever jokes and hilarious comments that had the audience crying out with laughter.

After the judges huddled, they made the night's first impossible decision, deciding it would be Simukka who would advance as the night's first finalist. 

After a boozy intermission, Round 2 kicked off with Lipson (author of Jäätelökauppias and Kosmonauttia Finlandia Prize 2008 nominee), who riled the audience by saying she was terrified of the LDM finale, so she decided to read poems she wrote when she was 12, to ensure failure. The opposite was true and the audience and judges loved every single line. Finally, Juha Itkonen (recipient of the 2013 Kirjasäätiön Veijo Meri award) wowed while reading an excerpt from his book Hetken Hohtava valo, using both video and sound to support his fantastic performance.

Again the judges commented on both authors, with enthusiasm, praise and quips galore, and after another huddle they decided it would be Lipson who would be the night's second finalist. 

Then LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage, as he presented a Literary Pictionary finale in which audience members came to the stage to draw the titles of award-winning Finnish novels. After four rounds, the score was tight, as Simukka held a 6-4 lead with 5 points on the line, and while Lipson was close, it was Simukka who shouted the correct answer first, winning her the Literary Death Match Helsinki, Ep. 3 crown, and literary immortality to go with it. 

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