Literary Death Match

Literary Death Match PosterLiterary Death Match is an international series of events that gives new writers a platform to perform their work. Four writers read 7 minutes of their latest book and then the judges offered feedback and selected two finalists. I was delighted that comedian Mark Watson was one of the authors who performed his work.

This East London venue was The Proud Archivist, near Haggerston Station. The event didn’t take itself too seriously and the co-hosts of Literary Death Match, Suzanne Azzopardi (LDM Exec Prod) and Adrian Todd Zuniga (LDM Creator) are lively and relaxed. I particularly enjoyed their different styles, with Adrian becoming increasingly flamboyant, and often interrupting his co-host, to her apparent irritation. I sensed this wasn’t an act and it became funnier as the night went on.

The first heat saw Lloyd Shepherd read from his novel ‘Savage Magic’, a dark, Dickensian romp through early 19th Century London. Elizabeth Aaron read from her new novel ‘Low Expectations’. This was set in the London fashion industry and offered some laugh out loud moments and reminded me of an English Sex and the City.

Literary Death MatchThe second heat saw Heather O’Neil take on comedian Mark Watson. Their styles were completely different, with Heather’s story an other-worldly and intriguing tale about a bear and a homeless man travelling. Mark Watson read a very funny short story involving a man who has been overlooked for being best man at a friend’s wedding. This formed a very funny rant in which the protagonist referred to the decision as “a criminal act”. I was hoping for a stronger ending to the story but it was very good never-the-less.

The judges provided feedback on the readings, which was often amusing. Gemma Whelan (Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) was particularly entertaining with her feedback on their performances. I was half hoping she’d turn up as her comic creation Chastity Butterworth, but Gemma Whelan as herself was equally funny. She took great relish in complimenting their “page-turning” or the “Shakespearean angles of their feet”.

The final was a game of literary Pictionary. Heather O’Neil won this bizarre game and was deemed the champion. This event was a fitting finale of Social Book Week 2014 and reminded everyone how fun and exciting literature is.

Literary Death Match returns to London on June 7th as part of Stoke Newington Literary Festival. I’d definitely head down as it’s a fun, entertaining night where you’ll discover new books and performers.


Twitter: @litdeathmatch

Written by Martin Stocks | @Stocks1986