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On the anniversary of its first birthday, The Workmans Club played host to circus of poetry and prose, “The Literary Deathmatch”, last Thursday the 8th of September. This reviewer was not sure what to expect from a title that suggests a mixture of a debate and a wrestling match. Instead I was treated to a showcase of original literary works performed by their authors and adjudicated by celebrity judges: comedian Jarlath Regan, author Trevor Byrne and enchanting songstress Cathy Davey.

Performing or “competing” in the death-match were poets Sarah Maria Griffin and Noel Sweeney and authors Simon Ashe-Brown and Philip O’Connor. Each wordsmith brought their work to life with infectious energy and wit. The night was hilariously compeered by LDM creator Todd Zuniga, his suave American voice teasing and instructing the judges to give their assessment of the performers after each round. The light-hearted competition climaxed with Sarah Maria Griffin facing Simon Ashe-Brown in a basketball shoot out. Of course no basketballs were present, instead the competitors shot balls of paper featuring pictures of past literary violators and book burners. The victor Sarah Maria Griffin defiantly shook off the stereotype of “unsporty girls” beating Simon Ashe-Brown in the showdown.

Literary Death Match winner Sarah Maria Griffin with fellow competitor Philip O'Connor
LDM winner poet Sarah Maria Griffin with author Philip O’Connor

Despite its suggestive title the Literary Death-Match is far from death of any kind and is instead a celebration of home-grown talent declaring Ireland’s literary heart is beating as loudly as ever. The Literary Death Match is touring the world highlighting local talent with every stop and will return to Dublin on November 3rd. If you’re looking for a truly unique night out then the Literary Death Match is the place to be.

(This post also appeared on Connector.tv)