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Last Updated 28 December 2013, 14:09 IST

1. Easy warm up question. This self-educated author never completed high school, but received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 1995, and was even nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996, and won it in 2007. She wrote path-breaking novels and short stories on racism in South Africa, where she grew up. She was in the news recently.

2. You feel like you would never forget it when you read about it. Let’s see if it’s true. Simple question: who won the Man Booker Prize for fiction for 2013?  

3. This follows the previous question. Who was the youngest to win the Booker prior to this?

4. This is another traditional question that we ask each time — who won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2013? What country does the writer belong to?

5 She was shot while returning home in a school bus because she dared to speak out for her right to education. Name the girl and the title of her book.

6. This American author shot into the limelight in 2003, with his book that shook traditional Christian beliefs and caused a sensation. Rather than resting on his laurels, he has continued to write thrillers. While critics flayed his latest work, it remains a bestseller in India. Name the author and his latest book.

7 Another Indian favourite, this British author’s latest novel continues to be a bestseller. His latest chronicles seem like a television series, but they continue to fly off bookshelves.
Bollywood recently signed a contract with him for the movie rights of two of his earliest works. Name the author (who makes it a point to speak with Sunday Herald whenever he visits India!) and his latest work. Bonus points if you can name the stories for which movie rights were signed.

8. This Afghan-American’s 2003 novel was a runaway hit. His latest, which arrived after a gap of six years, soared to the top of the bestsellers list even before it was released. Name the author and his latest novel. A bonus if you can remember his debut novel.

9. A bestselling author wrote this book under a pseudonym, and the wife of a lawyer whose firm worked for the writer reportedly leaked the identity. The book became a bestseller after the real identity of the author was revealed to the public. The author brought on legal action, and the solicitors’ firm paid a substantial amount to a charity. A sequel is ready. Name the author, the pseudonym and the name of the book.

10. Amitabh Bachchan acting in this Hollywood film based on this classic 1925 novel is just an excuse to remind readers of a great author. The cover of the book, showing two large eyes, became famous and has endured the passage of 88 years.
Name the book and the author. Incidentally, there are six versions of the film made so far, the most famous before this 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio version being the one released in 1974 starring Robert Redford. Too many clues!

11. This Indian-origin author’s latest book was nominated for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, and has received a lot of praise internationally.

This is the author’s fourth book, and her earlier works have all been well-received, one even being made into a film. Name the author and her latest novel. Not such a tough question? Then earn a bonus point by naming her other novel that also received a Pulitzer!

12. This last question is also a tribute to a remarkable author, who won both a Booker as well as two Oscars. After living in India for 24 years, she moved to New York, and divided time between the US and India. The author was the screenplay writer for many Merchant-Ivory productions. Who?


1 Doris Lessing. She died at age 94, in November 2013. Her huge volume of work includes 20 novels, 17 short story collections, an autobiography in two volumes, two memoirs, non-fiction works, poetry collections, a graphic novel, plays, and opera librettos.

2 Eleanor Catton for her novel The Luminaries. This 28-year-old is now the youngest writer to win the Man Booker Prize. Her 832-page novel was also the longest to win this award, and beats the 2009 winner Wolf Hall (672-pages) for length. She beat Colm Tóibín, NoViolet Bulawayo, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ruth Ozeki and the favourite, Jim Crace, to win the £50,000 prize.

3 Ben Okri, who won the Booker in 1991 for his fictional novel The Famished Road. He was then 32 years old.

4 Alice Munro. She is from Canada and the first Canadian woman to win the Prize. The Swedish Academy described her as the ‘master of the contemporary short story.’ It was unable to trace the 82-year-old before it could publicly announce the award. A phone message was left instead. She eventually learnt she was the winner when her daughter, whom she was visiting, woke her up with the news at 4 am. She groggily spoke to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation a little later, and hoped that “this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something you played around with until you got a novel.”

5 Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala. It is an extraordinary story of a Pakistani family’s fight against terrorism. Her father encouraged her to write and attend school. The Taliban shot her. She has become an inspiring symbol of how one person can trigger a revolutionary change. She became a universal symbol against global terrorism and the youngest ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

6 Dan Brown. The Inferno. He caused a sensation with The Da Vinci Code.

7 Best Kept Secret, (Lord) Jeffrey Archer. Producer Sheetal Talwar, who produced Rann, Raktacharita and Mausam (2011), bought the movie rights for the 1984 book First Among Equals and A La Carte, a short story from the best selling collection, A Twist In The Tale.

8 And The Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini. This was published six years after his second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns. This doctor, who fled Afghanistan when he was 11-years-old, became famous after his debut novel The Kite Runner was published. Both the first two novels reportedly sold 38 million copies across 70 countries.

9 J K Rowling, who wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Her Harry Potter series needs no introduction. Throughout history, many authors have published under a pseudonym for various reasons.

10 The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. The cover of the book was finished before the book was completed, and Fitzgerald liked it so much that he wrote to the Editor, “For Christ’s sake don’t give anyone that jacket you’re saving for me, I’ve written it into the book.” Spanish artist Francis Cugat designed this famous cover.

11 Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland. Her Interpreter of Maladies received the 2000 Pulitzer, and The Namesake was made into a film.

12 Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. She died in New York in April 2013, aged 85 years. Many presumed that this German-born British and American lady was an Indian because of her perceptive descriptions of the country and her people. She won the Booker Prize in 1975 for Heat and Dust. She wrote the screenplay for over 20 films for Merchant-Ivory, and won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay twice: in 1986 for A Room With a View and in 1992 for Howard’s End.

(Published 28 December 2013, 14:09 IST)

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