If you think Montreal’s literary scene is tranquil, think again. Welcome to Literary Death Match, where the practice of quietly reading goes all Battle Royale.
This is Montreal’s third Literary Death Match, part of an international series of events in which four of a cities’ best bookish minds compete, reading short, punchy pieces and trading japes with their three quick-witted celebrity judges.
It combines the snappy ‘oh no she didn’t!’-ness of reality TV contests like American Idol with a longer tradition of literary wits’ one-upsmanship and banter, at Dorothy Parker’s round tables or among the Bloomsbury group. Organizers promise a circus-like atmosphere and a lively audience stacked with “really attractive lit nerds.”
This episode’s contestants include CBC Wire Tap contributor Taylor Tower, widely published local poet Branka Petrovic, Food and Trembling: An Entertainment writer Jonah Campbell and A.M. Klein award-winner Gabe Foreman, author of A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Kinds of People. Each will present their most powerful seven minute piece and be graded by the panel of judges on power, quality, performance and je ne sais quoi, then two finalists will head to the final round.
Dears singer and keyboardist, Huffington Post columnist and celebrity judge Natalia Yanchak says the event promises “intellectual good times,” and a great way to “see the literary climate out there.”
Asked about the prospect of judging such quick wits, she retorts, “Oh, I judge stuff all the time.” ■
Literary Death Match takes place tonight, Sept. 18 at La Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent), doors at 7 p.m., show at 8:15 sharp, $10