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Twin Cities, Ep. 11

April 8, 2015 — After a year+ away, Literary Death Match returned to the Twin Cities for our annual AWP spectacular at Nomad World Pub. We teamed with Painted Bride Quarterly for an electric night of literature, comedy and genius that unfolded before a jam-packed house in which Mark Doten outlasted Claire Vaye Watkins in a back-and-forth battle of Literary Charades (led by Amber Tamblyn) that won Doten the LDM Twin Cities, Ep. 11 crown. 

But before the finale was even a thought, the night kicked off with Watkins reading from her multi-award-winning collection Battleborn (Story Prize, Dylan Thomas Prize & more), which had the audience hanging on ever word. Next up, Roxane Gayauthor of AyitiAn Untamed StateBad Feminist brought the night to Haiti, a story with hatable tourists, and brilliant turns of phrase abound. 

Then the mic was handed to the night's trio of all-star judges: Benjamin Percy, award-winning author of The Dead Lands and The WildingP.O.S, hip-hop artist and founding member of the Doomtree collective; and Susan Orlean, New Yorker staff writer and author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin. The three heaped praise and adoration on the opening round authors, with a bevy of whimsy and oddity mixed in for great sport. After a painful deliberation, the trio emerged and made the night's first impossible decision, naming Watkins the night's first finalist. 

Then came Round 2, featuring led off by Mark Doten, who wrote the libretto for The Source and is lit fiction editor at Soho Press, who read from his novel The Infernal, a startling piece about maggots and love. Finally it was Matt Bell who wowed with a captivating excerpt from his Paula Anderson Book Award-winning novel In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods

Again the judges were center stage, and again — after applause and reverie — they made another impossible decision, deciding it would be Doten who would advance as the night's second finalist. 

Then up stepped LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga who announced the night's finale: Literary Charades, bringing up poet/actress Amber Tamblyn to lead the Amber Tamblyn Players — a three-person charades team who acted out book titles for Watkins and Doten to guess at. After Watkins leapt to an early lead, Doten took command. But Watkins struck back! And with everything to play for, Doten sung out the final answer, winning him the Literary Death Match Twin Cities, Ep. 11 crown, and literary immortality to go with it.