by Naomi Kirsten

Litquake’s most riveting event just may be its most violent. At least in theory. Literary Death Match co-creator and Opium magazine founding editor Todd Zuniga reveals why literature could use a serious smackdown—and why this Wednesday’s LDM100 may change your life.

SFist: “Literary Death Match” sounds high stakes…and violent. What inspired you to bring the written--and spoken--word to such a potentially aggressive context?

Todd Zuniga: I’ve always called Literary Death Match the great literary ruse—it’s got a big, violent name that lures interest from people outside the lit-nerd crowd, which has always been my focus: putting literature back into the pop culture conversation, and not just preaching to the lit choir. Once the event kicks off, there’s so much general giddiness, performative joy, fantastic writing, and, ultimately, edutainment. Onlookers feel these tendrils of glee loosed inside them and—by the end—they understand that the event is about as true a celebration of words and humor as it comes. Which is where the drinking comes in. And the morning after, they race to a bookstore.