Time was when all authors had to do was to turn up and read from their works — now they must fight for survival.

Literary Death Match pitches four writers at each other, who each read samples from their works before being ruthlessly assessed by judges. It’s a kind of literary review meets the X Factor.

In this Spiegeltent outing, Norwich-raised short story writer Philip Langeskov took on performance poet Isley Lynn but was cruelly despatched, while novelist Emma Jane Unsworth took on former electrician turned short-story writer DW Wilson.

Wilson surprised the room with a specially written short story featuring fellow contestant Philip Langeskov in a time travel fantasy, a tale both of love and betrayal – easily winning his round.

Broadcaster and journalist Viv Groskop and comedian A L Kennedy headed up the judging panel with death match creator Adrian Todd Zuniga and Suzanne Azzopardi on hosting duties.

If anything, Kennedy’s comments won the night — at turns pointed, funny, and surreal.

What was to play for? Possible glory, maybe book sales, most likely just avoiding internet ridicule. The final saw the two round winners, helped by audience members, identify classic literature from one-star Amazon reviews, with Isley Lynn eventually crowned the winner.