Scene @ Opium‘s Literary Death Match in the Park

By Neal Comment

Top: Amy Shearn, Debbie Kuan, and Gabrielle Mitchell-Marell;
Bottom: John Williams in action

Amanda ReCupido went to last week’s Opium-sponsored “Literary Death Match” in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, “braving wayward basketballs, the soothing sounds of passing motorcycles, and, of all things, the Steve Nash Showdown going on at the other end of the park,” she reports:

“The match consisted of two rounds with two writers each representing different literary journals,” ReCupido continues. “The first round featured Debbie Kuan representing Wigleaf, a new online journal of (very) short fiction, and Gabrielle Mitchell-Marell representing Anderbo. Round two featured John Williams from, an online literary talk show, and Amy Shearn (whose first novel comes out next month) from Brick. Each read for 10 minutes or less and were then critiqued by three judges: New Yorker editor Ben Greenman on literary merit, comedian and writer Julie Klausner on performance, and Details editor-at-large Jeff Gordinier on intangibles (which ranged from what t-shirts the writers wore to the level of sexual innuendo included in the their work).

“The competition narrowed to Kuan and Williams, who then faced off in a garbage bag/potato sack race around the park. Williams came out triumphant, but most would claim that it was due only to his Chuck Taylor s.”

I’m told Opium will have video footage of that sack race up at some point…

(photos from James J. Williams III)