Brainteasers in our literary quiz… which could win you £1,000!


1 Which senior Labour minister of a few years ago has written four volumes of memoirs, each of them named after a Beatles song?

2 Who, in 2018, became the first ever Booker Prize winner to come from Northern Ireland?

3 Which office has been held by Quentin Blake, between 1999 and 2001; Jacqueline Wilson, between 2005 and 2007; Michael Rosen, between 2007 and 2009; and Julia Donaldson, between 2011 and 2013; and is currently held by Cressida Cowell?

4 What is the name of the 1852 book, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, that was the best-selling novel of the 19th century?

Name the one play by Shakespeare (pictured) that is set in the 11th century

5 Which American humorous writer, who now lives with his partner Hugh in Sussex, is such an inveterate litter-picker that his local council named a refuse lorry after him?

6 Which romantic poet and serial womaniser referred to his many and varied sexual encounters as ‘hot luncheons’?

7 Name the one play by Shakespeare (pictured) that is set in the 11th century.

8 Which 1945 novella was banned in the U.S. at one time because it was thought that it might expose readers to communist ideas, and in the UAE because it contains a talking pig?

9 In which series of real books might you see mention of these fictional books by Oolon Colluphid: Where God Went Wrong; Well, That About Wraps It Up For God; and Some More of God’s Greatest Mistakes?

10 During World War II, Foyle’s Bookshop in London bomb-proofed itself by covering the roof with copies of which book, originally published in German in 1925?

Girl on film: Janet Leigh appeared in which famous Hitchcock movie?

Girl on film: Janet Leigh appeared in which famous Hitchcock movie?


We’re looking for novels written by these people and published in these years, and there’s a thematic link between the answers. (So if one of them doesn’t fit, it’s likely wrong.)

1. Nathanael West (1939) 2. Frederick Forsyth (1971) 3. Margaret Atwood (2009) 4. Clarice Lispector (1977) 5. John Wyndham (1951) 6. Paul Scott (1968) 7. J. L. Carr (1980) 8. J. L. Carr (1963) 9. Sebastian Faulks (2009) 10. John Grisham (1989)


Here are ten films based on famous books. We’ll give you the three main stars, the director and the year of first release for each. We want you to give us the title of the novel (or short story) it was based on and the name of its author. For example: Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Scott Glenn, directed by Jonathan Demme (1991). Answer: The Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris. Let’s go!

Star of the Silver Screen: Kim Basinger

Star of the Silver Screen: Kim Basinger

1 Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Janet Leigh, directed by Alfred Hitchcock (1960).

2 Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason, directed by Nicolas Roeg (1973).

3 Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, directed by William Friedkin (1973).

4 Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, John Travolta, directed by Brian De Palma (1976).

5 Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, directed by Rob Reiner (1987).

6 Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, directed by Steven Spielberg (1993).

7 Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Russell Crowe, directed by Curtis Hanson (1997).

8 Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (2007).

9 Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, directed by Kenneth Branagh (2017).

10 Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, directed by Greta Gerwig (2019).


In her own words: Claudia Winkleman

In her own words: Claudia Winkleman

As usual, there’s a small tsunami of celebrity autobiographies in the bookshops. Who wrote each of these?

1. A Del Of A Life

2. Quite

3. A Promised Land

4. Tall Tales And Wee Stories

5. Life’s What You Make It

6. Behind The Sequins: My Life

7. No Time Like The Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality

8. Once Upon A Tyne: Our Story Celebrating 30 Years Together On Telly

9. Really Saying Something

10. The Dreamer: An Autobiography


The year 2020 was another bumper year for literary anniversaries . . .

1. Which great English poet was honoured for his 250th birthday last year? During his seven years as Poet Laureate, this man wrote no poetry at all.

2. Who was the youngest of three rampantly over-achieving sisters — born in 1820? She was just 29 when she died.

3. And which other writer, who wrote only one novel, was born during the same year in Great Yarmouth? Hers was the first ever English novel to be written from the perspective of a non-human animal. 

Which legendary English novel was first published in 1920? Whether you have read it or not, the image in your mind whenever it¿s mentioned is of Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestling naked on a hearth-rug (pictured).

Which legendary English novel was first published in 1920? Whether you have read it or not, the image in your mind whenever it’s mentioned is of Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestling naked on a hearth-rug (pictured).

4. Which English writer died 150 years ago (1870) aged 58, and left £93,000 in his will? He is buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.

5. Which legendary English novel was first published in 1920? Whether you have read it or not, the image in your mind whenever it’s mentioned is of Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestling naked on a hearth-rug (pictured).

6. How old would the science fiction writers Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert all have been in 2020?

7. Which German-Dutch diarist died 75 years ago, in 1945? She too only wrote one book, and her father made sure it was published in 1947.

8. Which novelist, who wrote all his six novels in Weybridge, Surrey, died half a century ago in 1970? He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature on 16 separate occasions, but never won.

9. Which much-loved fictional character would have been 40 on July 31 last year?

10. Last year marked 25 years since which grumpy old American writer died? Her New Year’s Eve Toast ran as follows: ‘To all the devils, lusts, passions, greeds, envies, loves, hates, strange desires, enemies ghostly and real, the army of memories, with which I do battle — may they never give me peace.’


These ten writers have something in common other than (and here’s a clue . . .) their possibly Irish or Scottish backgrounds. Can you name them and discover the link?

1. Born 1948 2. Born 1930 3. Born 1937 4. Born 1972 5. 1917-1967 6. 1914-2000 7. 1912-1989 8. 1911-1966 9. 1934-2006 10. Born 1968


1. According to a new biography, Prince Philip had an ‘emotionally intimate’ relationship with which British writer and visited her ‘full of doubts’ before his wedding to the Queen?

A) Daphne du Maurier.

B) Barbara Pym.

C) Ivy Compton-Burnett.

2. What books would QC and author Marina Wheeler take to a desert island?

Was it her? Jilly Cooper

Was it her? Jilly Cooper

A) The Jeeves stories by P G Wodehouse.

B) The three volumes of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 series.

C) Boris Johnson: The Gambler by Tom Bower.

3. ‘Losing status, money, reputation and security is a shock when it happens all within a few days,’ wrote Barbara Amiel in her memoir. Who said to her, ‘I’ll bet I’m in charge of more bathrooms and lavatories than you’ — and won the bet?

A) Melania Trump.

B) Imelda Marcos.

C) Ghislaine Maxwell.

4. According to a book Roger Lewis reviewed in March, Michael Sheen, Anthony Hopkins, Dame Flora Robson, Leonard Rossiter and Kenneth Branagh all started their careers where?

A) In amateur dramatic societies.

B) In stand-up comedy.

Pictured: Kenneth Branagh

Pictured: Kenneth Branagh

C) As theatre critics for newspapers.

5. Kate Lister’s A Curious History Of Sex was revealing. What did Victorian men think ‘would damage the feminine organs of matrimonial necessity and shake them loose’?

A) Riding a horse.

B) Dancing a foxtrot.

C) Bicycling.

6. Our reviewer Mark Mason thought this the dieting tip of the year: ‘Paste photographs of girls in bikinis on all the biscuit tins.’ From a collection of whose newspaper columns?

A) Nora Ephron.

B) Jilly Cooper.

C) Sarah Vine.

7. According to Annie Vernon’s Mind Games, subtitled: An Insider’s Guide To The Psychology Of Elite Athletes, Rebecca Adlington, Victoria Pendleton, Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent, David Beckham, Harry Kane, Usain Bolt, Andy Murray have something in common. Are they all…

A) Elder siblings?

B) Only children?

C) Younger siblings?

8. Renée, Jacqueline, Maria, Eva, Sylvester (the only man), Joan, Allanah, Annie, Esther, Natalia, Patricia, Evelyn, Eda, Lesley, Laura, Rosamund, Jenny, Anne and Aliette were the 19 lovers of which writer, in a biography reviewed (and enjoyed) by Ysenda Maxtone-Graham?

A) Vita Sackville-West.

B) Sybille Bedford.

C) Ivy Compton-Burnett.

How to enter 

Send your answers by post to: Daily Mail Literary Quiz, Books Dept, Daily Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT. Include your full name and address, phone number and email address (if you have one).

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Closing date for the Literary Quiz is January 18, 2021. The first set of correct answers pulled from the hat after the closing date wins a prize of £1,000. We will publish the winner’s name and the correct answers in the Books pages on January 22, 2021. The prize is non-transferable and no alternative is available. Allow 28 days for receipt of the prize. Normal Daily Mail terms and conditions apply. See page 60 for full T&Cs or visit

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