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LA, Ep. 43

April 8, 2016 — To keep our 10-Year Anniversary celebration going, Literary Death Match teamed with the LA Times Festival of Books for a "Festival After Dark" spectacular at Largo at the Coronet that wowed in every single direction. The fantastic night ended with Leah Hayes out-shooting Naomi Hirahara in an Anti-Book Burning Basketball Spectacular by a final score of 5-3 to win Hayes the LDM LA, Ep. 43 crown.

But before the finale was even a thought, the genius-filled night kicked off with Assaf Gavron, award-winning Israeli author of Almost Dead and Croc Attack!, who read a brilliant excerpt from his novel The Hilltop. Next up, Leah Hayes, illustrator and musician (Scary Mansion), delivered an excerpt from her graphic novel, Not Funny Ha-Ha.

The mic was then handed over to our quarter of all-star judges: Jane Smiley, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres and Golden Age; Ginger Gonzaga, actor/writer from HBO's Togetherness, Mixology and Legit; Maria Bamford, comedian, actress, voice actress and star of Netflix's Lady Dynamite (May 20); and Thomas Middleditch , improviser, actor, star of HBO's Silicon Valley. The foursome riffed and hilarified on all counts, delivering kudos along the way, before huddling up and making the night's first impossible decision, declaring Hayes as the night's first finalist.

Then came Round 2, led off by the ever-talented  Bruce Eric Kaplan, author of Meaniehead, New Yorker cartoonist, and exec producer of Girls, who read a sterling excerpt from his new memoir,  I Was a Child. Finally, it was Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award-winning author of Murder on Bamboo Lane and the Mas Arai series, who read the beginning and end of a fantastic story (skipping all the killing in the middle).

Again the judges were center stage, with a series of knee-slapping riffs intermixed with applause for each writer's work. After a huddle, they made the night's second impossible decision, naming Hirahara the second finalist.

Then LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga presented the Anti-Book Burning Basketball finale. While LDM executive producer took centre stage as a human stanchion (holding the basketball hoop), Hayes and Hirahara flung crumpled balls of book-burning scenes at the hoop. Suddenly, Hayes caught fire, and nailed the final two shots to win 5-3, winning her the LDM LA, Ep. 43 crown, and literary immortality to go with it.


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