I’m sorry I missed the Literary Death Match last night. It was on my way home from the Grotto, but after being here for six hours, I was too tired to wait around two more hours to head down to Harlot at 46 Minna. I’ve been tired a lot lately, not sleeping well at night and still fighting off the remnants of a cold.
I’m sorry I missed it not only because Grotto member Stephen Elliott was one of the four contestants, but because Stephen apparently got into a
skirmish disagreement with Death Match judge and Zyzzyva editor Howard Junker after Howard insulted Stephen’s writing on stage. This is all hearsay; like I said I didn’t go, but from what I understand Stephen threw a beer in Howard’s face at Howard’s shirt during the intermission, which resulted in Howard leaving before the end of the Match. I haven’t seen Stephen today, so I don’t know the rest of the story. What I do know is that Stephen and Howard have been at odds for some time, and that Stephen is a very sweet guy and a talented writer. Two of his books—including Happy Baby—are on my 2006 reading list. I was hoping Howard would blog about the experience on Zyzzyva Speaks, but no such luck. And Stephen abandoned his own blog several months ago as well. Tant pis. There’s nothing like some good literary gossip.
Update: See comments below for the “real” story.
And here are the details of the Match:
Four Magazines, Four Readers, One Champion—Readings the Way Darwin Meant ‘Em.
Joyce Maynard reads for Canteen
Stephen Elliot for McSweeney’s
Michelle Richmond for Fiction Attic
Sam Hurwitt for Kitchen Sink
The first West Coast Literary Death Match ever—set in the decadence of Harlot and judged by the wisdom of:
-Howard Junker (ZYZZYVA)
-Beth Lisick (Everyone into the Pool)
-Jon Wolanske (Killing My Lobster)