Literary DEATH MATCH

**This blog is sponsored by my dearest friend Zsofia, not by money but encouragement – Hi Zsofi!**

About 2 weeks ago I got out of work at 2 pm with a spring in my step (even though my bike ride into Williamsburg that morning left me drenched to the bone) and stepped out into the sunshine. I met Dan at Prospect Park and we lay and read as dogs and children scampered past us, chased by parents. After that we visited Skylark in Park Slope for a beer and informal trivial pursuit where I embarrassed myself a bit in how much I knew about celebrities (not that it came as too much of a surprise). I’d read earlier that week about something called a Literary Death Match, a live game-show of sorts held at the Bell House on 7th Avenue, so we decided to check it out. It turned out to be a lot of fun – the premise is that four writers read something they’ve written to the audience. They can only read for 7 minutes, and are then critiqued by three judges on their literary merit, performance, and “intangibles.” I’m just realizing how dorky this sounds as I’m typing it out – whatever I’m dorky no sense in pretending anymore. ANYWHO – the event was such an interesting peek into the lives of others (sidenote: one of the best movies ever is The Lives of Others {Das Leben der Anderen} watch it now!) in the world of writing and publishing.

The first two authors had books recently published, and what struck me was how young and approachable they were. Their books couldn’t have been more different – Kent Russell’s excerpt from his literary non-fiction debut “I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son” included devastatingly detailed description of a man attempting to immunize himself against snake venom, while Eliza Kennedy’s “I Take You” offered a chipper narrator’s musings on her upcoming wedding, at the same time sugary and bitter in a prototypically chick-lit way.

LDMBK

 

The latter writers, Lane Moore and Josh Gondelman, read short essays, the first the inner workings of a hilariously unaware “popular guy in high school” who hit his peak 20 years before and is unsure where the time has gone, and the second a tour guide of American sights to see written in the comically austere voice of writer and NYTimes mascot Karl Ove Knausgaard. Moore and Gondelman actually performed as their characters and the result was a definite crowdpleaser. I’d recommend checking out the calendar for Literary Death Matches in your area – they are held all over the world and currently in the UK – for a different form of entertainment than your typical Netflix binge.

Thanks for reading!

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