02 October 2013

"Lucha Libro" explained

From a story at PRI:
It's a twist on Lucha Libre, Mexico’s version of pro wrestling, where competitors put on masks and pseudonyms to duke it out in a ring.

Peru's Lucha Libro is kind of like that, without the violence. It's literary "wrestling." New writers don masks, and head onto a stage where they’re given three random words, a laptop hooked up to a gigantic screen, and five minutes to write a short story.

At the end of a match, the losing writer has to take off his or her mask. The winner goes on to the next round, a week later. And the grand prize? It's a book contract...

The first contestant is a guy who goes by the name "Chicken Wilson." He's tall and goofy, but when he sees the three words projected on the screen behind him, he gets serious. He's got monkey, plane ticket, and dictionary to work with.

The announcer counts to three, and the clock starts. No one's talking, but just a paragraph in, Chicken Wilson freezes. The seconds are ticking by, so the crowd starts cheering him on. He rallies, dashing off a short story about monkeys living in the city, and an American girl on vacation in Peru...

It's also about changing the idea that literature is boring. This turns it into an event. Because it's not just about the opportunity for a young person to become a writer,” he says. “It's also about having a place for young people to hang out - and to read.”
It seems to me the way to game the system would be to have three or four stories already "written" in one's mind, and then figure out into which one you could insert the three words.  Kudos to the promoters for developing the event.

1 comment:

  1. That does seem to be the way to game it. One would hope the judges evaluate how well the contestants integrate the random terms into the narrative in order to reduce the benefit gained by preparing in such a manner.


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