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Literary Death Match Returns to Nashville for the Southern Festival of Books

Saturday, October 10, 8pm at War Memorial Auditorium.
Humanities Tennessee presents the 2nd annual Literary Death Match, a fundraiser for the Southern Festival of Books. Literary Death Match presents a  thrilling mix of four famous and emerging authors 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.
 
Contestants
 
 
Tiana Clark is a Pushcart Prize nominee living, performing, and teaching poetry in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from Tennessee State University where she studied Africana and Women's studies. Tiana is a first-year MFA student in poetry at Vanderbilt University where she is the Writer In Residence for the East and Memorial houses, and a Poetry Reader for the Nashville Review, an online literary arts journal. She serves on the board for a local non-profit literary center, The Porch Writers' Collective.  Her poems have appeared in The Raven Chronicles, Nashville Arts Magazine, Word Riot, Native Magazine, Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, and are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2015 and The Adroit Journal, among others.
 
Harrison Scott Key is the author of the memoir The World's Largest Man, a true story about what it's like to be related to insane people from Mississippi, including the surprise revelation, on the last page, that he is also insane and the book is a hallucination. Or is it? (SPOILER ALERT: It isn’t! Or is it? Harrison is checking with his fact-checker to confirm what "truth" is and isn't.) The book was reviewed and mostly loved by book reviewers who were mostly loved as children and was even nominated for the 2015 Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction, which includes a $50,000 award, which is almost as much money as some people make in a bass fishing tournament. Other nominees include relative unknowns such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, Harold Bloom, Primo Levi, and among others, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the great Beat writer WHO IS APPARENTLY STILL ALIVE, which deserves some kind of prize.
 
Alex Sheshunoff's work has appeared in National Geographic Adventure, Slate.com, Marketplace on National Public Radio, The Anchorage Daily News and other, very, very prestigious media outlets. Before deciding to call himself a writer, Alex snuck through Yale and started and ran an internet company in New York called E-The People - a nonpartisan precursor to Moveon.org but with a pun in its name.  Five years later, burnt out and facing a quarter-life crisis, Alex gathered the one hundred books he was most embarrassed not to have read in college and moved to a small island in the Pacific called Yap.  He later wrote a book about the experience (A Beginner’s Guide to Paradise) and got to rewrite the book after getting a masters degree in creative nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa.
 
Erica Wright 's debut crime novel The Red Chameleon  (Pegasus Books) was one of O, The Oprah Magazine's Best Books of Summer 2014 and was called "riveting" by Publishers Weekly. A sequel, The Granite Moth, will be released in November. She is also the author of the poetry collection Instructions for Killing the Jackal  and the chapbook Silt. Her poems have appeared in Blackbird, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, New Orleans Review, Spinning Jenny, and elsewhere. She is the poetry editor and a senior editor at Guernica Magazine as well as an editorial board member for Alice James Books. Her interest in crime writing began while teaching at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and she has also taught at Marymount Manhattan College and New York University's continuing studies program.
 
Judges
 
 
 
Kwame Alexander is a poet, children's book author, playwright, producer, public speaker and performer. He conducts creative writing workshops in middle and high schools, often reaching more than 500 students monthly. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area. Visit his website at www.bookinaday.org.
 
Dennis Dunaway was the bass player, lead songwriter, and theatrical conceptionalist of Alice Cooper and was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  in 2011. Their hit single "School's Out" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015. Dennis continues writing songs, recording, and playing live concerts with Blue Coupe. Dennis lives  with his wife Cindy in Connecticut. They have 2 daughters, Renee and Chelsea.