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LA, Ep. 37

April 19, 2015 — April's a cruel month? Not on our watch! On a whimsy-filled night, Literary Death Match teamed with the cast of HBO's Silicon Valley and the LA Times Festival of Books for a Festival After Dark event at Largo that won hearts, minds and every other part of everyone's body as Atticus Lish outlasted Porochista Khakpour in a back-and-forth Lone Star Lit finale, winning Lish the LDM LA, Ep. 37 crown. 

But well before the finale was even a consideration, the night kicked off with Karl Taro Greenfeldauthor of The Subprimes and Triburbia, and featured in several of the Best American series (Short Stories, Sportswriting, Travel Writing, Nonrequired Reading), who told the genius tale of coaching a bad girl's basketball team that still made the playoffs — in a two-team league. Next up, Khakpour, author of Sons and Other Flammable Objects read from her award-honored novel The Last Illusion, an excerpt about a man getting his first job, and things going well off the rails. 

The mic was then handed over to the night's quartet of all-star judges:Meg Wolitzer, New York Times Bestselling author of The Interestings and Belzhar; Josh Brener, actor featured in Silicon ValleyThe Internship and Big Bang TheoryZach Woods, actor/improviser from Silicon ValleyIn the Loop and The Office; and Thomas Middleditch, star of Silicon Valley, actor (Wolf of Wall Street), and comedian/writer. The foursome were brilliant and beyond as they reeled off non-stop quips and hilarities and kindnesses before huddling up and making the night's first impossible decision: naming Khakpour the night's first finalist. 

Then Round 2 commenced with Atticus Lish, who read a stirring passage from his novel, Preparation for the Next Life, a NY Times, WSJ and Vanity Fair Best of 2014. Finally, it was the endlessly wonderful Sara Benincasa, author of Great and one of Flavorwire's 25 Female Comedians Everyone Should Know who read a story about butts — a brilliant feminist rant disguised as a hilarious romp. 

The mic again was handed to the judges, with praise and jovial chatter abound for Lish and Benincasa, before making the night's second impossible choice: advancing Lish to the finals. 

Then up stepped LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga who announced the night's finale: Lone Star Lit — a game in which Zuniga read off 1-star Amazon book reviews written about classic books. The two finalists (Khakpour and Lish), were teamed with volunteers and they traded points, but with everything to play for, it was Team Lish who slapped the bell first, nailing the final answer, winning him the LDM LA, Ep. 37 crown, and literary immortality to go with it.