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NYC, Ep. 45

April 30, 2014 — In a wild show of international awesome, Literary Death Match turned the cruelest month on its head, at  The Breslin Bar and Dining Room at the Ace Hotel. Teamed with Pen World Voices Festival, the night finished with Saeed Jones narrowly beating Alona Kimhi in our Literary Spelling Bee II finale by one point to win Jones the LDM NYC, Ep. 45 crown. 

But before the finale was even a thought, the magical night kicked off with Kimhi, award-winning Israeli actress and author of Weeping Susannah, who read a brilliant excerpt from her novel that focused on, amongst many things, impotence. Next it was Korean author Bae Suah, who introduced herself before a translator (Jay) took over to read a haunting excerpt from her novel Highway with Green Apples.

The mic was then handed over to the trio of all-star judges: Jay McInerney, award-winning author of Bright Lights, Big CityThe Good Life & How It EndedParker Posey, award-winning actress from Grace of Monaco, Louie, Waiting for Guffman & more; and Michael Ian Black, comedian from The State and Stella and author of You're Not Doing it Right. McInerney applauded the ending to pitch-perfect ending to Suah's story, while Posey lauded Kimhi's walk to the stage: "I saw her sauntering and not knowing where she was going. I love that." Black was a series of brilliances, asking Kimhi not to yell at him. After a difficult deliberation, they announced that it would be Kimhi who would advance as the night's first finalist. 

After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 kicked off with the blazingly fantastic Kevin Barry, the multi-award winning Irish author of City of Bohane, about a hotel in a tiny place on the coast of Ireland where how long it took to get from Point A to Point B was the most interesting conversation. Finally, it was Saeed Jones, editor of  and author of the forthcoming Prelude to Bruise, who cracked off four poems of varying awesome that left the crowd in throes. 

Again the judges were center stage, with McInerney citing the close of Jones' title poem ("Prelude to Bruise"): "If I ever strangled sparrows, it was only because I imagined better songs." Posey fell hard for Barry, his prose and accent both, but it was Black who delivered the judging line of the night in response to Jones: "In a week of Donald Sterling , you were black tonight, and I applaud you. Very smart. Keep that."

Again the judges huddled, and again they were faced with an impossible decision, but decided it would be Jones who would advance as the night's second finalist. 

Then host and LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage to announce the night's finale: Literary Spelling Bee II, in which Kimhi and Jones were tasked with spelling complicated author names. After an early lead by Jones, Kimhi fired back. But with everything to play for, and needing for correct letters to win, Jones forged perfectly ahead, winning him the LDM NYC, Ep. 45 medal, and literary immortality to go with it.  

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