The Southern literati will take over Third Man Records on Oct. 11 for a Literary Death Match, presented by Humanities Tennessee, Porch Writers’ Collective and Third Man Books as part of the Southern Festival of Books. The collaboration will bring together an eclectic mix of music and literature lovers and creators for an exciting, live event in the name of the written word.

Performed and celebrated in 55 cities worldwide, this marks the debut of the Literary Death Match craze in Nashville. Authors Bret Anthony Johnston (Remember Me Like This), Patricia Lockwood (Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexual), Adrian Matejka (The Big Smoke) and Abraham Smith (Only Jesus Could Icefish in Summer) are appearing on behalf of 26th annual Southern Festival of Books, which begins on Friday, Oct. 10 and continues through Sunday, Oct. 12. 

Bringing new meaning to the saying “bury yourself in a book,” the authors will challenge each other to their (literary) death. Johnston, Lockwood, Matejka and Smith will read their most electric work for seven minutes or less and be judged by the discerning tastes of Ben Swank (co-founder of Third Man Records), Antonya Nelson (acclaimed author of short stories) and Teresa Mason (owner and operator of the delicious Mas Tacos Por Favor).  

The judges will go back and forth spouting outlandish, off-the-wall commentary based on the categories of literary merit, performance and intangibles, eventually selecting their two favorites to advance to the finals. The finalists will compete in a (vaguely) literary competition to determine who takes home the Literary Death Match crown!

Doors will open at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11 for the 8 p.m. event. Tickets are $15 and they can be purchased at Please note that this is a 21 and older event. 

The Southern Festival of Books, presented by Humanities Tennessee is a free, three-day celebration of the written word that attracts more than 25,000 attendees to meet their favorite authors, and be introduced to talented, up-and-coming writers. Attendees travel to Nashville from all over the country to experience the weekend’s abundance of authors, books, food, entertainment and culture. The Third Man Rolling Record Store will be parked at the event on Saturday, October 10th with our mobile library and plenty of copies of Third Man Books’ first commercially available anthology, Language Lessons: Volume 1 for sale. For more information, visit