Quiz on places where famous authors wrote

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on July 03, 2020

The room in Ahmednagar Fort prison where Jawaharlal Nehru wrote The Discovery of India   -  THE HINDU/S KOTHANDARAMAN

On July 4, 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved into a small cabin on Walden Pond in Concord. His account of his time there was captured in the classic Walden. This week, we’ll look at some interesting places where authors chose to write.

Going places

1 Who wrote many of his short stories, in the late 19th and early 20th century, in a bajra or Indian houseboat while traversing the Padma river and its tributaries?

2 In the mid-’90s, who did most of her writing on an old manual typewriter while sitting at The Elephant House in Edinburgh, Scotland?

3 David Cornwell was a government officer in the late ’50s when he started writing his first novel on the train ride from Buckinghamshire to London. It was a huge success, and he continued to write prolifically, using a pseudonym, as MI 6 officers were forbidden to publish in their own names. Which name did he adopt?

4 Who wrote seven of his works in Finca Vigia, a 19th-century house designed by Miguel Pascual y Baguer. He originally moved there in 1939, and then kept returning well into the ’50s?

5 With which well-known author would you associate Ivy Cottage in Landour, a place which has been his home since 1980?

6 Many authors have stayed at the luxurious Pera Palace Hotel, but the most famous of them was Agatha Christie, who used to frequent Room 411, which is now preserved in her name. The question is, in which city will you come across Pera Palace Hotel, and, for bonus points, which was the most famous book she is said to have written here? If it helps, the answers are connected.

7 Many famous people have written in jail, including O Henry, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Adolf Hitler. However, which renowned playwright wrote the tragedy Oedipe while being held at the legendary Bastille prison in France for writing a satire on the then government?

8 Still in France. Which legendary couple would do most of their writing on reserved tables, first at the Café de Flore and then at Les Deux Magots, in the 1940s and ’50s? They would typically write from 9am to noon, meet friends for lunch and then write again till 8pm.

9 The creator of which hugely popular books and, later, film franchise did most of his writing in an estate on Oracabessa Bay on the coast of Jamaica? If it helps, the name of the property was used as the name of one of the later films?

10 Who wrote while being held at St Elizabeth’s Hospital for the criminally insane in Washington DC between 1945 and 1958?


1 Rabindranath Tagore; he started the English translation of Gitanjali on a bajra.

2 JK Rowling; her manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was mostly written here.

3 John Le Carré.

4 Ernest Hemingway. The Old Man and the Sea was written in the library of this house.

5 Ruskin Bond; Landour is just above Mussoorie.

6 Istanbul; it is said she wrote Murder on the Orient Express in this room. The Orient Express originally travelled between Paris and Istanbul.

7 François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire.

8 Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

9 Ian Fleming, who created the fictional British spy James Bond. His estate was named Goldeneye.

10 Ezra Pound, who was arrested after the war for being a Nazi collaborator.


Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster;

Twitter: @joybhattacharj

Published on July 03, 2020

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