Monday 1 January 2024

Answers to quiz


  1. Mrs Beeton – her publisher husband needed some books to experiment with and then she got the bug about writing cookery books.
  2.  Louisa May Alcott – after twenty years or so she finally wrote Little Women,  which is partly autobiographical
  3. Charles Dickens  - he had quite a writing routine and a good long walk every day was part of it. Despite this fitness regime sadly he died at the age of fifty-eight from a brain haemorrhage
  4. Dylan Thomas – you can visit his home as Laugharne. Be sure to also see his writing shed.   
  5. Sophie Hannah - she writes what she terms “continuation novels” about such characters as Hercule Poirot.   
  6. Lee Child - further adventures of his famous character Jack Reacher, former American military policemen are now written by his brother.     
  7. Janet and Allan Ahlberg have produced many delightful books together. Sadly, Janet died of breast cancer in 1994. Daughter Jessica has worked on some projects with her father.     
  8. Molière Le Malade Imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), about a hypochondriac who fears death and doctors, was performed in 1673 and was Molière’s last work. During the fourth performance of the play, on February 17, Molière collapsed onstage and was carried back to his house in the Rue de Richelieu to die.
  9. German, French, Spanish have the same word for “story” and for “history”. There may be others.  
  10. “Novel” of course means ‘new’ and this was a new form of story-telling. Prose fiction as we now know it was very different from the story in poetic or dramatic form. Prose stories before the novel were “told”, usually spoken, rather than “shown”.    
  11. John Steinbeck like many writers had his strong habits. One of his was writing in pencil. That he got through sixty some days perhaps shows how prolific he was.    
  12. Four ghosts appear to Scrooge. Arguably though all of the other characters he was shown were also a type of ghost.
  13. The royalties from J M Barrie’s Peter Pan go to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.  
  14. This opening line comes from Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows which feature anthropomorphic characters and the notorious Toad of Toad Hall.  The animals have a lot of adventures and just as they think they are returning to a safe home they find that the problems they had overcome were still awaiting them at home. This is a common trope.  
  15. Stephen King, that well-known writer of horror stories, lived though his open horror story when he was very badly injured after being hit by a van in 1999.
  16. Isaac Asimov wrote this story. In it there is a robotic code that we may well need to adopt to keep AI in check.
  17. The Mouse Trap is the longest-running production. There are older plays but none of them have runs as long as this one.  If you see it you must not tell anyone who did it.   
  18. Kafka wrote many bizarre and somewhat disturbing stories. Perhaps he decided they were so alarming that shouldn’t be offered to the public. Fortunately his friend Max Brod thought otherwise and published his work. Whatever you opinion of his work it will certainly make you stop and reflect.
  19. Balzac was the archetypal poos writer living in a garret. He kept himself alive by drinking lots of cold coffee.
  20. Shakespeare really wanted to be an actor. We all know he became a brilliant writer and also an astute business man. He did not give up easily. And he survived the pandemic.    

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