SANCHO PANZA — Previewed

How far would you go to prove yourself? Emma Sumner discovers a competitive literary collective with wresting on their mind…

Tonight, six of the toughest, most nimble-fingered writers from across the north-west will commence battle. Liverpool-based literary arts collective, The Wild Writers, host SANCHO PANZA, a live writing competition held in a (wait for it) purpose-built wrestling ring. The six selected writers will face each other in a raucous head-to-head challenge to write the ultimate short story, in just five minutes, projected live for the crowd to keep up with the action as it unfolds.

With two writers going head-to-head in each round, writing live on laptops, and armed with surprise topics, the worthy winner will be selected by a panel of judges and crowned SANCHO PANZA: World Heavyweight Champion. Surely an honour far greater than any Pulitzer Prize.

There’s an additional wrestling-themed twist — each writer will be masked and anonymous until the winner is announced at the end. Adding to the mystery and keeping things fair where the judging’s concerned.

The Wild Writer’s latest live event takes inspiration from the Peruvian short story competition, Lucha Libro, where masked writers from Peru battle it out for the ultimate prize of a book deal. Wrestling, but using brains rather than brawn (or smack-downs for that matter), SANCHO PANZA aims to shine a light on what our north-west talent has to offer.

The Wild Writers are projecting their passion for literature in a unique way — tearing apart our traditional perception of writing events in what head honcho and founder Michael Fowler would describe as “the right kind of DIY attitude”. Some of you may already have entered The Wild Writer’s universe; recent events include Imaginarium (Drop the Dumbells), which featured a realistic camp fire for story writing and live head-shaving; Tarot (Camp and Furnace), where they installed a poetry vending machine; and their ‘curiosity bazaar’ commission at last year’s Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.

There is, of course, the issue of writer’s block; under intense pressure from the clock and the crowd, fear might just put a spanner in the night’s proceedings. But with live music from Spanish Announce Team – who specialise in wrestling intros — DJ sets from The Wild Writers themselves, food, stalls and live Lucha wrestling (!) on offer, creative block will be the last thing on the audience’s mind.

SANCHO PANZA will be no traditional poetry reading in a dusty old man’s pub. If you are looking for a memorable way to start your Easter weekend, with a combination of more unusual entertainment unlikely to be seen anywhere else in a hurry, SANCHO PANZA looks likely to be a good place to start.

Emma Sumner

SANCHO PANZA is tonight, Thursday 17 April 2014, 7.30pm, The Kazimer, Liverpool, £4 ADV

Posted on 17/04/2014 by thedoublenegative