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Miami, Ep. 4

November 16, 2012 — The glories of the Miami Book Fair International were on full display as Literary Death Match returned to Bardot for a wily and riotous talent-fest that ended when Meg Haston narrowly outdueled Derek Kirk Kim by only seconds (well, 49.3 of them) in an Author Jumble, winning Haston the LDM Miami, Ep. 4 crown. 

But before the finale was even a consideration, the night kicked off with Kim (illustrator/awesomist/author of Tune: Vanishing Point) giving a pitch-perfect performance of a hilariously quiet graphic novel excerpt that had the crowd in stitches. Then up stepped Leela Corman (author of the graphic novel Unterzakhn) with two accompanying voiceover artists to assist her graphic novel showing, one of which broke into song at one point. 

Then the mic was turned over to the trio of all-star judges: Pamela Druckerman (author of Bringing Up Bébé), Billy Corben (direct of ESPN 30-for-30's Broke and The U, and the films Cocaine Cowboys and Square Grouper), and comedian/cartoonist/designer Jessica Gross. They reeled off rollicking commentary that had the tipsy crowd in consta-guffaws, before they huddled and decided it would be Kim who would advance as the night's first finalist.

After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 commenced with Scott Hutchins (SF's "most exciting new novelist") leading off, and reading a startlingly powerful excerpt from his debut novel, A Working Theory of Love. Then it was Meg Haston to cap off the night of masterful readings, as she performed an excerpt from her YA novel of How to Rock Break-Ups and Make-ups. Again, the judges were on display, as Corben said Hutchins' excerpt made him want to kill himself in the best way, and Gross acknowledging that Haston's excerpt seemed plucked directly from her own youth. Then the judges huddled, and faced with another impossible decision, they selected Haston to advance to the final round. 

Then host and LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage, announcing the night's finale would be an Author Jumble, in which Kim and Haston had to move letters (held by people) around in quick order, then announce the author's name. Haston was electric, turning INN into NIN in a mere 5.3 seconds, while Kim turned EOP to POE in 7.3. The second round, Haston was even more unbeatable, and with Kim needing to do the final word combination in -4.7 seconds or less, Haston was crowned champion, winning the Literary Death Match Miami medal, and literary immortality to go with it.  

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