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London, Ep. 22

February 16, 2012 — In a brilliant showcase of just how far Literary Death Match has come in six years, our first event in London in 2012 at Shoreditch House was a sold-out night to remember, which saw the masterful Lloyd Shepherd (author of The English Monster) outduel co-finalist Sarah Tucker (author of The Playground Mafia) by a 3-1 margin in a battle of Authorial Secret Loves, winning Shepherd LDM London's 22nd crown. 

But before the finale was even a daydream, the night kicked off with writer/actor Steve Furst (a Little Britain regular) reading from his surely-to-be-publshed book "The Git List: 100 Worst Britons" (which starred Jim Davidson, Alan Titchmarsh, Cliff Richard, Gregg Wallace and Jeremy Clarkson). Then up stepped Shepherd who read from his new novel about pirates hundreds of years ago, and the last pirate to be hung in Wapping. 

The mic was then turned over to the panel of all-star judges: superstar author Joanne Harris (Chocolat & Five Quarters of the Orange), writer/musician Rhodri Marsden (who pens The Independent's  "Life on Marsden" column), and all-around hilaritress Suzi Ruffell. Harris judged Steve as burnt orange and Rufell thought his choice to wear a cravate was a brave move, while Marsden felt he shared an aura colour with Jesus and Adrian Chiles. Of Shepherd, Rufell was disappointed he didn't use a Dutch accent, as he looked Dutch, while Marsden remembered the tender moments the two shared on a trip to Oslo. 

After a long deliberation, and by the narrowest of margins, the judges elected to move Shepherd on as the night's first finalist. 

After a boozy intermission, Round 2 featured the award-winning journalist and best-selling Sarah Tucker, against the Liars’ League's own Katy Darby. Tucker read from her book, The Control Freak Chronicles, a frighteningly real description of a TV production company meeting where the staff are called Orlando and Jarred and they're desperate to create a show to pitch to ITV, followed by a poem: 'Ode to a midlife Crisis' which won rapturous applause. Darby was undaunted, and came out swinging with a fantastic excerpt from her historical novel The Whores' Asylum

Again the mic was handed to the judges, where Harris said of Katy Darby's work, "I love a bit of gun porn," and Rufell said Darby's voice was "very radio 4, could have listened to it all day" and praised Tucker's dress. Marsden closed with saying Darby's work "reminded him of a night in Preston with a lady called Angela" and of Sarah he did a free word association, and came up with "Book." 

Again, another impossible choice, but it was Tucker who was led to the LDM finale slaughter, as the night's second finalist. 

Then co-hosts Suzanne Azzopardi and Nicki Le Masurier invited gobs of volunteers on stage, where each were presented with a load of writers and their secret loves. Tucker was insistent about matching up different author's with birds, but Shepherd won it all when he chose bees and Sylvia Plath to win the LDM medal, and literary immortality to go with it.

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