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 Sahityaki Quizzes - 2001

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Literature Quiz Finals - Writers Round I

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Orage 2001
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Seven authors, two clues for each:

1.
a. He appeared in several advertisements endorsing both Parker pens and Ballantine ale in Life magazine.
Gore Vidal said of him: 'I thought ________'s prose was perfect until I read Stephen Crane and realised where he got it from.

b. He settled for no advance at all, just a handshake from Paris publisher Robert McAlmon, for his first collection Three Stories and Ten Poems. He was happy just to get it published. He prized guns all his life, and blew his head off while suffering from depression in 1961.

2.
a. Annie Besant once proposed to him by handing him a private contract to replace the traditional religious and civil ones. However, it was so convoluted that it was worse than the contract it replaced and he refused to sign it.

b. When he won the Nobel Prize, he refused the money that accompanied the honour, complaining that since it was announced he had been beseiged with requests for loans from every bankrupt writer he had ever known. 'I can forgive Alfred Nobel for inventing dynamite,' he said, 'but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.' He left money in his will to help implement a new alphabet with phonetic spelling - a lifelong obsession.

3.
a. He was offered a mere $14 for one of his books towards the end of his life - and this with the proviso that if the book didn't earn that amount, he had to make up the difference to the publisher.

b. An alcohol and laudanum addict, he still managed to join his local Temperance Society to lecture others on the evils of the demon drink. He is said to have died of rabies.

4.
a. He was a member of the Carbonari secret society dedicated to overthrowing foreign governments. He seduced his married half-sister Augusta Leigh in 1813, which resulted in the birth of a baby girl, Medora.

b. As well as a pet bear, he had ten horses, six dogs, three monkeys, five cats, an eagle, a parrot, a crow, a falcon and five peacocks.

5.
a. The shortest correspondence on record is that between him and his publisher in 1862. He was on holiday and wrote to ask him how his latest novel was selling. He made just one stroke of the pen, a question mark, and received just one in return: an exclamation mark.

b. He was such a patron of brothels that after he died the French Government gave the prostitutes a grant to attend his funeral. This they did, wearing black scarves as a gesture of respect… around their private parts. He was a candidate for French presidency too.

6.
a. He was also an actor. And used to get so excited performing his own work on stage that he sometimes fainted.

b. While on a train journey in Kent in 1864 with the half-completed manuscript of one of his books, the train was derailed and some of the carriages plunged over a bridge. Miraculously he survived, as did his manuscript, but the experience didn’t do him much good and afterwards he became increasingly agitated when writing anything. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this was the last book he completed. He died in 1870.

7.
a. James Stephens called him 'a half-witted sheep who bleated articulate monotony'. He had no sense of smell, despite the fact that he liked writing about flowers so much.

b. After the death of Robert Southey in 1843, he became Poet Laureate but never wrote a single line of poetry in the seven years he held the post.

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