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LDM 2015: Year in Review

Last year, our Year in Review took a turn — instead of focusing on the past year, it focused on the year ahead. And while 2015 was riddled with highlights (which we’ll open with), it's way more exciting to me to talk about our future. And we’ve got big ideas, and bigger plans, and I’m going to spill some of the beans here and now.

But first: LDM 2015 highlights!

1. Our 60th City. Our debut in Bucharest (one of the 10-best shows we’ve ever done) marked LDM debuting in 60 cities. Other debuts in 2015: Louisville, KY and Oxford, MS.

2. 50 Events! We went into 2015 with an eye towards doing 40 shows (less is more!), but there’s just too much talent we’re excited about, and too many wonderful cities out here.

3. LDM at Edinburgh Fringe. In August, LDM did an 8-shows-in-8-days run at the EdFringe Festival (meaning fifty-six people did LDM in eight days). And while the shows were a success, the greater gift: seeing so many brilliant acts (like Trygve Wakenshaw, Sarah Kendall, Dane Baptiste, Richard Gadd and Jena Friedman) who we’ve reeled into the LDM mix, with way more to come.

4. Partnerships. Teaming with HBO to promote some of our favorite shows was a boon. Our judging panels were filled with cast-members of Silicon Valley and The Leftovers. Those were smash hits, both.

5. Big Names! In our world, we get super-excited/semi-obsessed with all kinds of smart people. This year we were able to feature so many wowing folks, but here are some we wanted to remind you of: Billy Collins, Lionel Shriver, Jason Reitman, Roxane Gay, Rhys Darby, Aisling Bea, Baratunde Thurston, Susan Orlean, Luis Alberto Urrea, Meg Wolitzer, Ben Fountain, Attica Locke, Andrew Hunter Murray, Amelia Gray, Linda Gray — okay, we're going to stop typing, now. This list is endless.

Now, for LDM’s future: In the spring of 2016, we’ll celebrate our 10-year anniversary. And while we’re waiting to take a few seconds to luxuriate in that feat, we’re more thrilled by one significant aspect of that milestone: we love doing the show more than ever. In fact, we find ourselves in a position, now, finally, to take massive strides and move LDM above and beyond anything you’ve seen out of us before.

What you can expect in 2016:

1. A Global 10-Year Celebration. Last time we had a milestone — our 100th show — we celebrated it in 14 different cities. For our 10-year, we’re going to spend two months traipsing around the globe, featuring the best people we can find. And we’ve got some great ones lined up — and you heard it here, first: our annual AWP Spectacular will take place at a 1600-seat theatre on April 1 (this ain't no April Fool's, either — venue name to come shortly). HOLY HUGE. Come celebrate with us. You’re our lifeblood.

2. Fundraising Commences. Over the last six months, we’ve done a hardcore review over ever area of LDM — where we can grow, where we can improve, what we’re capable of. In 2016, we’re aiming to raise $490,000 in angel investment to help us bring literature, and literary events to a level never seen before.

3. A New Web Site. LDM’s site is simple. It’s to the point. And it’s little better than a page out of TimeOut’s listings. Which is absurd. We’ve got 10 years of content and we’re only looking at the coming weeks, instead of endless content opportunities.

4. LDM Bookmark Contest. To help us achieve our web site and content ambitions, we’ll be launching a writing contest (a holdover from and callback to Opium Magazine). LDM events have reached at least 10,000 people annually — and the winning story/bookmark will be distributed globally to those attendees. These stories will be 250 words max. Get to writing so you’ll be ready when we make the big announcement.

5. Newsletter Redux. We want the appearance of our newsletter in your inbox to feel like the new episode of Serial (or No Such Thing As a Fish) just landed in your Podcast inbox. So, expect fun, whimsy and smarts to go with announcing our events. And if you dig it, tell your friends to subscribe, too. 

6. LDM Presents. Beyond the live Literary Death Match events, look for more “LDM Presents…” events — one-on-one interviews around the world. We’re starting with The Leftovers creator Damon Lindelof at Soho House West Hollywood on January 19, and Wet Hot American Summer writer/director/creator David Wain
David Wain on February 26. With London and other cities to come. Can’t make it? These will appear on our LDM podcast channel.

There’s more. There’s so much more! But because we want to over-deliver, I’m not going to mention how we’ll work to organically integrate video elements into our live shows.

Anyway, we wanted to give you that taste of what we’re working towards. Will we nail all of it? Maybe? Hopefully. It’s our intention. But at least we’re going to march forward, and bring LDM to another level, so we hope you come along for the ride.