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LA, Ep. 14

September 30, 2012 — On a lazy, sun-drenched Sunday, Literary Death Match teamed with the West Hollywood Book Festival for a sun-drenched, outdoor blowout that ended with Rachel Resnick outdueling Lisa O'Donnell in a Literary Spelling Bee battle that netted Resnick the LDM LA, Ep. 14 crown! 

Much of the crowd was new to LDM, so Adrian Todd Zuniga introduced the show and the four literary ladies who'd be competing: Rachel Resnick (Love Junkie; Go West Young F*cked-Up Chick), YA debutist Iva-Marie Palmer (The End of the World As We Know It), Lisa O'Donnell (Orange Screenwriting Prize winner and author of the forthcoming The Death of Bees), and Corrie Greathouse (The Toronto Quarterly, Another Name for Autumn).  

On hand to judge the readers' literary merit, performance, and intangibles were Bernard Radfar (author of Insincerely Yours: Letters From a Prankster), Mortified creator David Nadelberg, and actress/author Lauren Weedman (The Five-Year Engagement, author of A Woman Trapped in a Woman's Body). 

The temperature was hot, but the literature was hotter, as Lisa O'Donnell and Corrie Greathouse faced off in round one. O'Donnell read an excerpt from The Death of Bees about a fifteen-year-old girl named Marnie who has just buried her parents in the backyard, and Greathouse read a love letter from her forthcoming novella Another Name for Autumn. Radfar said O'Donnell's piece made him feel "like I'd suddenly stepped into an Ionesco play, in the best way," while Nadelberg was reminded of his celebrity crush, Kelly McDonald; "Anytime I hear a woman speaking in a Scottish accent, I'm smitten." Weedman added, "I'm in a place I've never been before... it's magical."

The judges also had a positive response to Greathouse's work.  Radfar said, "You're willing to go places to describe love that are honest and dangerous." Nadelberg admired the way she captured the exasperation of her character, and Weedman said of Greathouse, "She's so sexy, and she's so perky... and not perky in a bad way."  The judges huddled, and Weedman declared both competitors "awesome," before announcing O'Donnell as the winner of round one.

In round two,  Iva-Marie Palmer read from her YA novel The End of the World As We Know It, and Rachel Resnick read a piece that included the timely line, "The day is tropical and I am sweating."  Radfar said Palmer's work had "an edginess that kept surprising [him]," while Nadelberg said, "In terms of performance, I feel like you have a delicious deadpan, but I'd like you to slow it down a bit."  Weedman saw Palmer's piece as inspiration for kids who feel traumatized, advising, "Take a few notes — it'll serve you well later in life."

Radfar commended Resnick's piece for "straddling the space between poem and prose." Nadelberg said, "I don't know that you nailed that accent," but admired Resnick for having "the balls that it takes to get up there." Weedman commented, "It made me miss New York and hearing different voices tell their stories."  After a quick discussion with his fellow judges, Radfar announced that it "wasn't fun deciding. It just came down to choosing Rachel Resnick."

In the final round, Rachel Resnick and Lisa O'Donnell battled to spell authors' last names in a Literary Spelling Bee.  Resnick took the lead, correctly spelling "Chabon" and soon triumphed over O'Donnell, who struggled with "Solzhenitsyn."  Despite taking second place, O'Donnell proclaimed Literary Death Match "grand," adding, "It was a good time."

Zuniga asked Rachel Resnick how she felt after winning the LDM LA, Ep. 14 crown. She expects a "stratospheric rise from here on out... everybody stay tuned!"

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