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London, Ep. 2

September 16, 2009—Last night was a historic one for the Literary Death Match: London, Ep. 2 marked our 50th-ever episode (wow!), and featured the youngest champion in the series' history, as 17-year-old Ashna Sarkar out-scribbled co-finalist Tom Chivers in a wild, hotly-contested Sharpie-based finale of Sketch-a-Judge™ to snare London's second Literary Death Match crown.

Queen of Hoxton played host to LDM London, Ep. 2

The event—sponsored by Picador Books (hurry out to snare Aleksandar Hemon's latest)—was held at the dazzling Queen of Hoxton. Nestled in their black-walled basement, the night kicked off with a first round that featured Musa Okwonga up against Chivers. Leading off, Okwonga was electric, reeling off two poems from memory, our favorite being a riff on the modern day obsession with checking their email/Facebook, etc. Then came Chivers, who stormed back with an opulent narrative that quieted the boisterous crowd. 

After, the mic was turned over to the judges—scribe Damian Barr (Get It Together), chef/writer Fuchsia Dunlop and performetress Amy Lamé—who were all inspired by Okwonga's ability to hastily set-up the stage to his liking (he discarded the mic stand to open his performance), but ultimately sided with Chivers' tale, sending him on to be the night's first finalist. 

After a boozy intermission, the second half commenced, with Five Dials representative Craig Taylor leading off against Sarkar. Taylor's piece quietly captivated the hushed crowd, as he read a tale of two male friends on an airplane discussing sex (potentially with one another, to one's chagrin) if the plane were to crash. But then came Sarkar, the energetic belle who whipped through a set of poems that had a buzzing crowd cheering her on in full throat. An impossible decision for the judges, they elected to go with Sarkar's bold performance, sending her on as the night's final finalist. 

The finalists scribble Amy Lamé in 20 seconds or less...

Then came a finale of artistic merriment in which the portrait-drawing skills of both Sarkar and Chivers were tested, as they had to draw each of the three judges, with a time limit of 20 seconds each. After Chivers took a 1-0 lead with a masterportrait of Damian Barr, Sarkar struck back with a baffling display of scrawlsmanship to tie things up. The final effort: Chivers' sloppy work on Lamé's jawline was trumped by Sarkar's technically-sound glasses drawing, sending Sarkar to history-making victory, making her the Literary Death Match champion! 

For more pictures from the event, click here! 

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