Literary Death Match: the Next Generation of Book Event

International franchise, the Literary Death Match, is finally landing in Toronto

The critically-acclaimed and fan-favorite event marries the literary and performance aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips a la American Idol (only without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare. LDM, co-created by Opium Magzine’s founding editor, Todd Zuniga, is touring to twelve cities this October in celebration of the 100th performance.  Cities include Vancouver, San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Toronto.

The Toronto LDM100 takes the stage on Tuesday November 2, 8:15 PM, at The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West) with an all-star line-up of Toronto-based readers and judges that includes readers Claudia Dey, Ibi Kaslik, Susan Holbrook, and Andrew Kaufman, with judges Julie Wilson, Lisa Gabriele and Chris Shulgan. (additional biographical information below).


Tickets are $5 at, $8 at the door, and $5 with student ID.


Each episode of this competitive, humor-centric reading series features 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 -- that is when the show’s literary sensibility takes a turn for an absurdly comical climax (like a Laser Tag Duel, Literary Card Sharks, the Cash Advance Money-Grab, or Stab-A-Hole-In-Nebraska) to decide the winner.


It may sound like a circus — and that's half the point. Literary Death Match could be called the great literary ruse: an audacious and inviting title, a harebrained finale, and in-between, the judges inspire the viewer to judge as well, fully engaging them in the process.




  • Ibi Kaslik is a New York Times bestselling author, representing Penguin Canada at LDM. Her first novel, Skinny, was widely acclaimed and her second, The Angel Riots, is a rock n' roll comic-tragedy not inspired at all by real-life Canadian indie bands. She teaches creative writing at UofT. Her website is


  • Susan Holbrook is the author of misled and the Trillium-nominated Joy Is So Exhausting (Coach House Press 2009).  Watch out! Her work has been called “a chocolate covered, artificially intelligent virus that will continue to replicate in your mind long after exposure to it has ceased.”


  • Andrew Kaufman is a Toronto based novelist who will be representing Random House at LDM. His cult smash hit All My Friends Are Superheroes is being made into a movie. His second novel, The Waterproof Bible, was published in 2010. The waterproof part is metaphorical; Andrew apologizes for any confusion. His website is and he can also be found on twitter @severalmoments


  • Claudia Dey is a novelist, playwright and columnist. She writes the weekly Coupling column for The Globe and Mail. She also wrote The Globe and Mail’s Group Therapy column and Toro magazine’s sex column under the pseudonym, Bebe O’Shea. Stunt, her debut novel, was critically acclaimed. Her non-fiction follow-up, How to Be a Bush Pilot: A Field Guide to Getting Luckier is published by HarperCollins. Claudia's website is and she can be found on Twitter @ClaudiaDey






  •  Lisa Gabriele is the author of The Almost Archer Sisters and Tempting Faith DiNapoli. She is also senior producer of Dragon's Den, and is known to be both brutally honest and intermittently tender, like a convict from "Scared Straight", but without the tats. Lisa will be the literary merit judge for the evening. Lisa's website is



  • Julie Wilson is a writer and professional publishing fan. She's the curator of the literary voyeurism project Seen Reading, founder of Book Madam & Associates, the host of The Book Madam Book Club, and the official blogger of the International Festival of Authors. Julie's website is and she can also be found on Twitter @bookmadam

  • Christopher Shulgan's just-released second book is a chilling and heartwarming account of a coming of age that involved crack and babies. It's called Superdad: A Memoir of Rebellion, Drugs and Fatherhood. The parenting columnist for Eye Weekly, he lives in Toronto with his wife and two children. And he is findable on the web at and on twitter @Shulgan



Since March 2006, Literary Death Match has provided a showcase for literature as a brilliant, unstoppable medium. In addition to monthly events in New York, London and San Francisco, LDM has been produced in 24 cities around the world including Los Angeles, Portland, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, Savannah, New Orleans, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, Beijing and more.  The event has featured more than 380 readers including Tom Perrotta (Election), Stephen Elliott (The Adderall DIaries), Tao Lin (Richard Yates) and Michelle Richmond (The Year of Fog) and more than 260 judges including Pulitzer Prize-winners Richard Russo and Jane Smiley, Scott Adsit of 30 Rock, model/author Paulina Porizkova, actor/poet Amber Tamblyn, and musician Moby.

Julie, Ibi, and Susan are available for interviews. Todd is available to chat about the series. Mark can speak about bringing the franchise to Toronto and he can give you some quotable quotes about the LDM rivalry with Vancouver.  

"“Literary Death Match is the magic mushroom of Planet Lit.”" Alan Black, author of Kick the Balls
"Literary Death Match exudes attitude." Edward Guthmann
"LDM is one of a growing number of literary events that deliberately seek to subvert audience expectations by taking something the general public perceives as highbrow—serious literature—and making it accessible and fun." Journalist Kathleen Rooney
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    Heather Connor

    Publicist for LDM100
    heather.connor ([a]t)
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    Todd Zuniga

    Host and co-founder of The Literary Death Match
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    Mark B.

    Co-producer of LDM Toronto
About Literary Death Match -- LDM100: Toronto

Competitive literary event in cities around the world (NY, SF, Beijing, London & beyond). 4 readers, 3 all-star judges, and 1 finale.