Quiz on the written word

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on March 08, 2019 Published on March 08, 2019

In March 1939, 80 years ago, Isaac Asimov’s first ever published short story — Marooned off Vesta — appeared in Amazing Stories magazine. To celebrate this prolific author, we feature a quiz on the written word.

Word by word

1 Writers are not usually big on endorsements, but which celebrated author appeared in advertisements endorsing Pan American Airlines, Parker Pens and Ballantine Ale in the pages of Life magazine?

2 Which word for a rake and a seducer originates from a character from Nicholas Rowe’s The Fair Penitent, published in 1703?

3 In which 1990 children’s book, written by a famous author, does most of the action take place in a fictional land named Alifbay, which is a combination of the first two letters of the Urdu alphabet?

4 Which celebrated playwright died while performing the lead role of the hypochondriac in his own play — The Imaginary Invalid — in 1673?

5 Agatha Christie dedicated her 1969 work Hallowe’en Party to which other celebrated British author with the words, “To ___ _____ — whose books and stories have brightened my life for many years. Also, to show my pleasure in his having been kind enough to tell me he enjoyed my books”?

6 He sold his first poem at the age of 10. As a teenager, he had already started writing for Hollywood and won an Academy Award when he was 30 for the script of The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. However, he is most remembered for his novels and is currently the seventh bestselling novelist of all time. Name him.

7 Which word, meaning ‘a fortunate accident’, was coined by author Horace Walpole after reading a novel about the travels of three princes written by 15th-century Italian author Michele Tramezzino?

8 Which fictional country is bordered on the east by the Eastern Ocean, on the west by a great mountain range, on the north by the River Shribble and on the south by the country Archenland ?

9 If the 1957 classic Japanese film Throne of Blood is an adaptation of Macbeth, relocated to feudal Japan, which critically acclaimed 1961 Hollywood film is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet?

10 Mary Ann Evans was born in Warwickshire in 1819, the daughter of an estate manager. What name did she adopt while becoming one of the leading writers of the Victorian era?


1 Ernest Hemingway

2 Lothario

3Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. Incidentally, it also features Plentimaw fish named after Goopy and Bagha, characters in a famous Satyajit Ray children’s film

4 Jean Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Moliere

5 PG Wodehouse

6 Sidney Sheldon

7 Serendipity, from The Three Princes of Serendip

8 Narnia, in CS Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia

9 West Side Story; the Montagues and Capulets are replaced by rival gangs, the Sharks and the Jets

10 George Eliot. She is remembered for classics such as The Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner



Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster;

Twitter: @joybhattacharj

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Published on March 08, 2019
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