Oxfam Book Quiz Questions

The Oxfam Book Quiz went ahead on Tuesday night at the 78 Bar on Kelvinhaugh Street in Glasgow. 16 teams took part which was more than we expected, and the place was packed. Anyway, it was a good night – and a close finish, with just a point separating the top two. We raised well over £100 for Haiti too. Thanks are due to John and James at the Oxfam Bookshop for doing the organising and to everyone at 78 for having us. We’ll do it again.

Here are 50 of the 60 questions – the final round was a picture round and I’m too lazy to cut and paste all the pics! Answers at the bottom.


1. Which Shakespeare play begins with the line “If music be the food of love play on; Give me excess of it”? Bonus point: which character says the line

2. Which English rock singer wrote the comic novel Lord Iffy Boatrace?

3. Which instrument did Sherlock Holmes play?

4. Which author of westerns wrote the 1912 novel Riders of the Purple Sage, the inspiration for the Grateful Dead spin-off group New Riders of the Purple Sage?

5. Who is Henning Mankell’s Swedish detective Kurt Wallander’s favourite singer?

6. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1988 musical The Phantom of the Opera is an adaptation of a 1910 novel by which French author?

7. In 1964 and 1965 John Lennon published two books of whimsical stories, comic verse and drawings. What were they called? (one point for each)

8. Which singer and songwriter’s second novel is called The Death of Bunny Munro?

9. Which real life American accordion player was the title character in a James Ellroy novella published in 1994?

10. The 1988 Waterboys album Fisherman’s Blues contains a track called The Stolen Child. It’s a musical adaptation of a work by which poet?


11. In Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, what species of fish does Santiago finally land after three days of struggle?

12. When Edward Lear’s Owl and Pussycat went to sea, what did they take with them?

13. How did Nicholas Monsarrat describe the sea in the title of his 1951 novel?

14. Which stretch of water did Lord Byron famously swim on May 3rd 1810?

15. Who won the 2005 Booker prize with his novel The Sea?

16. What type of criminal gang is vicar Francis Davey the head of in Daphne Du Maurier’s novel Jamaica Inn?

17. What 29km long coastal landform gives its name to a 2007 Ian McEwan novel?

18. Which sea monster ate six of Odysseus’s crew in Homer’s Odyssey?

19. In CS Forester’s novel The African Queen, who or what was the African Queen?

20. Which fictional sailor left Hull in 1651 and didn’t return to Britain until 1687 according to the novel published in 1719


21. Who is Alice’s main adversary in Through The Looking Glass?

22. In Shakespeare, who was described as “That bottled spider, that foul bunchback’d toad”

23. Cousins Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee wrote detective fiction under which pseudonym?

24. In Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, who kills King Arthur?

25. Whose death triggers the riots that take place at the climax of George Pelecanos’s 2004 novel Hard Revolution?

26. Margaret Landon’s 1944 book Anna and the King of Siam was turned into a musical in 1951. What was it called?

27. Who wrote the 2009 historical novel The White Queen and the forthcoming 2010 novel The Red Queen?

28. Who wrote the comic novel The Queen and I?

29. In which 1977 Stephen King novel does writer Jack Torrance accept a job as a winter caretaker of a Colorado hotel?

30. During whose reign were the bloodthirsty plays collectively known as Jacobean Tragedies written?


31. In Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana, what does ex-pat hero Jim Wormald sell for a living?

32. Who lives with her grandfather in the Old Curiosity Shop?

33. Who wrote the seminal guide to the ad industry, Confessions of an Advertising Man?

34. What is the name of the main character in Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman?

35. In Nick Hornby’s novel High Fidelity, what kind of shop does Rob Fleming run?

36. In which Franz Kafka novel does travelling salesman Gregor Samsa turn into a giant insect?
A Metamorphosis

37. Which best-selling romantic novelist wrote an autobiography called Sex and Shopping: The Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl?

38. What was Samuel Johnson’s father Michael’s trade?

39. Who wrote the short story The Little Match Girl?

40. What was the name of the Merchant of Venice?


Each answer (or part answer) in this section is a colour. Simple as that.

41. Baroness Orczy’s dashing hero Percy Blakeney

42. Alice Walker’s third novel

43. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s wallpaper

44. Walter Moseley’s first Easy Rawlins novel

45. The owner of a parrot called Captain Flint

46. Marina Warner’s 1992 novel inspired by The Tempest

47. Author of the Joy Luck Club

48. GK Chesterton’s priest-detective

49. Fannie Flagg’s fried tomatoes

50. The heroine of Anne Bronte’s first novel


1. Twelfth Night / Duke Orsino 2. Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden 3. The violin 4. Zane Grey 5. Maria Callas 6. Gaston Leroux 7. In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works 8.Nick Cave 9. Dick Contino (Dick Contino’s Blues) 10. William Butler Yates

11. Marlin 12. They took some honey and plenty of money wrapped up in a five-pound note 13.Cruel 14. The Hellespont, between European and Asian Turkey (not the Bosporus – that’s further north) 15. John Banville 16. Wreckers – luring ships on to the rocks so they can steal the cargo 17. Chesil Beach (On Chesil Beach) 18. Scylla – the six headed sea monster 19. A steam launch (boat will do) 20. Robinson Crusoe

21. The Red Queen 22. Richard III 23. Ellery Queen 24.Mordred 25. Martin Luther King 26. The King and I 27. Philippa Gregory 28. Sue Townsend 29. The Shining 30. James I / VI

31. Vacuum Cleaners 32. Nell Trent (Little Nell) 33. David Ogilvie 34. Willy Loman 35. Record Shop 36. Metamorphosis 37. Judith Krantz 38. Bookseller 39. Hans Christian Andersen 40. Antonio

41. Scarlet (Pimpernel) 42. (The Color) Purple 43.Yellow 44. (The Devil in a) Blue (Dress) 45. (Long John) Silver 46. Indigo 47. (Amy) Tan 48. (Father) Brown 49. Green (at the Whistlestop Cafe) 50.Grey


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