Marlon James hopes for blood and guts at the Literary Death Match
This week, nomadic reading series Literary Death Match is returning to the Twin Cities to bring some spunk to the local lit scene. The event pits writer against writer in a battle for literary bragging rights.
In each corner of the metaphorical ring is a formidable literary talent raring to go. Pete Hautman won the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for his works Godless and The Big Crunch. Stephanie Wilbur Ash, of MPR's Electric Arc Radio fame, has written for many national publications and companies. Juliet Patterson, author of The Truant Lover and the forthcoming Threnody, has won numerous prizes and fellowships for her work. Accomplished photographer Jeffrey Skemp released his debut poetry and music album, Spent, last year.
Deciding the readers' fates, judges include celebrated author and professor Marlon James, Lutefisk Sushi podcast host and prolific cartoonist Danno Konowski, as well as sci-fi writer, professor, and former journalist Dennis Cass.
Critically-acclaimed novelist James will lend his sharp wit to the evening's festivities as a
judge. We chatted with the Jamaican author of The Book of Night Women and Jim Crow's
Devil about his upcoming gig at this week's Literary Death Match.
How did you get involved in this round of the Literary Death Match?
I've been hovering around LDM for a while. For some reason there was always a Death Match in any city I decided to visit, then two really good friends of mine both won in Minneapolis. I'm not as young and strapping as they are, so when the LDM powers that be called, I was glad it was for me to be a judge.
As a judge, what will you look for in each of the readers?
Blood and guts. Metaphorically, of course. I really hope that this one devolves into mayhem and blood sport. I also want to see some of the great vitality that exists in the Minnesota literary scene. I expect to be regaled by prose and wowed by poetry. But in the absence of that, I'll settle for somebody's eyes being gouged out. This is like MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch, right? I actually have no idea.
What are you most looking forward tonight?
Going in a little dumb. All the better to be dumbfounded.
What makes LDM different than other typical readings?
Literary readings aren't competitive enough! I really wish more readers realized you're supposed to entertain. If you really don't like reading in public and wish you didn't have to do it, then don't do it. By the way, here's your 50 cent royalty check.
Anything else you'd like to add?
There will be blood. And guts.
IF YOU GO:
Literary Death Match
Nomad World Pub
6:30 p.m. social hour, 7:30 p.m. event Wednesday, June 6
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