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San Antonio Public Library Foundation - Literary Death Match & Festival Club Reception
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Literary Death Match & Festival Club Reception

April 2, 2016 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Literary Death Match marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol’s judging (without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare.

Each episode of this competitive, humor-centric reading series features a thrilling mix of four famous and emerging authors (all representing a literary publication, press or concern online, in print or live) who perform their most electric writing in seven minutes or less before a lively audience and a panel of three all-star judges. After each pair of readings, the judges–focused on literary merit, performance and intangibles–take turns spouting hilarious, off-the-wall commentary about each story, then select their favorite to advance to the finals.

The two finalists then compete in the Literary Death Match finale, which trades in the show’s literary sensibility for an absurd and comical climax to determine who takes home the Literary Death Match crown.

It may sound like a circus–and that’s half the point. Literary Death Match is passionate about inspecting new and innovative ways to present text off the page, and the most fascinating part about the LDM is how seriously attentive the audience is during each reading. We’ve called this the great literary ruse: an audacious and inviting title, a harebrained finale, but in-between the judging creates a relationship with the viewer as a judge themselves.


  • Reception at the Empire from 5:30 – 7:00 pm (includes The Last Word cocktails, Old Main Association appetizers, and live music by National Standard)
  • Orchestra level seating at $50/seat or $300/reserved table for four
  • Scroll down to register for Reception + LDM Live tickets!



Sara Benincasa, comedian and author of the books DC Trip, Great, and Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom
Jamie Brickhouse, author of Dangerous When Wet
David Crabb, author of Bad Kid: A Memoir, performer, writer, teacher & storyteller in New York City
Joaquin Zihuatanejo, author of Fight: Poems


Literary Merit: Coleen Grissom, author and Trinity University professor
Performance: Zach Anner, comedian and author of If at Birth You Don’t Succeed
Intangibles: Sandra Valls, comic, “The Latin Divas of Comedy”

“…the most entertaining reading series ever.”

LA Times


April 2, 2016
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Charline McCombs Empire Theatre
226 N. St. Mary's St.
San Antonio, TX 78205 United States
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