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London, Ep. 36

December 2, 2013 — Literary Death Match barnstormed Kings Place in London with an ever-enchanting evening rife with lit, wit, and smash literary and comedic hits that finished with newly-announced Icelandic Literary Prize finalist Andri Snær Magnason outdueling co-finalist Viv Groskop in a One Star Wonder sudden death finale, winning Magnason the LDM London, Ep. 36 crown. 

But before the finale was even a consideration, the night kicked off with Magnason who read a trio of poems from his poetry collection Bonus Poetry, before reeling off a brief excerpt from his Philip K. Dick Award-nominated novel LoveStar. Next up was Shelley Harris (author of the Commonwealth Book Prize-shortlisted Jubilee who wowed when she did the first-ever public reading from her second novel (Vigilante!) that plain enchanted the packed crowd. 

The mic was then handed over to the trio of all-star judges: Stephanie Merritt, arts reviewer & alter-ego of bestselling novelist SJ Parris (HeresyProphecy); Mark Billingham, best selling crime fiction writer, author, actor and stand-up comedian; Mike Wozniakcomedian, "showbusinessman" and 2013 Edinburgh Comedy Award finalist. The trio riffed and quipped, praising Magnason's pants color along with the potency of his work; and blown away by the steady awesome and hand gestures of Harris. Then they made the night's first impossible decision, naming Magnason the night's first finalist. 

After a boozy intermission, Round 2 kicked off with award-winning comedian Mitch Benn blowing minds with the opening pages of his novel Terra, which he ripped through while filling the audience with a rare glee. Finally it was Groskop (author I Laugh I Cried, award-winning improviser, Radio 4 broadcaster) who read a heartaching and hilarious non-fiction story about skinny dipping in Odessa in the summer of 1994. 

Again the judges were center stage, with hoorays and delight delivered in the direction of both writers — Groskop's boots; her honesty! Benn's ability to create an alternate universe in brilliant fashion! —  before they made their night's second impossible choice, naming Groskop as the night's second finalist. 

Then host and LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage, announcing the One Star Wonder finale, in which he read off 1-star Amazon book reviews written about classic books. The finalists, teamed with a mix of volunteers from the crowd, traded points — Magnason was up! then Groskop! then Magnason! — and with the game tied, it all came down to SUDDEN DEATH! in which Team Magnason chimed in and shouted the final answer, winning Magnason the London, Ep. 36 medal, and literary immortality to go with it.  

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