Mostly Bookbrains III – what a night!

Phew!  I can rest from having to compile quiz questions for a while.  The third Mostly Bookbrains lit quiz night happened yesterday evening.

It was icy cold out, but that didn’t stop the bookish folk of Abingdon and beyond from going out and  filling our school hall – Dave, the caretaker, had to get extra tables for us.  The Quiznight was co-hosted by me and Mostly Books to raise money for two local charities – See Saw and Abingdon Alzheimers Club.  Judy and her hubby ran the bar and raffle and sold delicious snacks. The Book Swap table did a great business too.  I think we raised a good amount of money, but the total isn’t available yet.

The Quiz was won by the team who sat at table Q who named themselves Quiller-Couch after the author who was himself known as ‘Q’, and they scored 115 out of 132 possible points! There were loads of books and chocolate as prizes down to third place, with an additional prize for the interval big quiz-sheet.  Thank you to everyone who came, including bloggers Simon, Becca, and Yvann. It’s always especially lovely to see blog-friends at any occasion.

One of my treats, the morning after is to read through everyone’s answer sheets, and have a chuckle at some of the imaginatively hopeful and wrong answers. I’d like to share a few with you – but no names!

  • I asked which poet turned down the offer of becoming Poet Laureate after John Betjeman died in 1984 …  We had W H Auden (died 1973), and Benjamin Zephaniah (born 1958, and turned down an OBE in 2003). (A: Philip Larkin)
  • I asked which author’s memoir of growing up in Berkshire was called The necessary aptitude.  Good suggestions were Miranda (Hart, Devon-born, but boarded at Downe House school nr Reading), and Kate Winslett (a Reading born girl).  (A: Pam Ayres)
  • I asked about the subject of Hilary Mantel’s sequel to Wolf Hall which will be called ‘Bring up the Bodies‘ – the further life of Thomas Cromwell.  One team guessed Pol Pot!
  • I always have a picture round of identify the author – many teams find this the most difficult round.  Oxford author Helen Rappaport was wrongly identified as Kate Summerscale, Helen Fielding, Hilary Mantel, Joanna Trollope, Jodi Picoult, Kate Atkinson, Catherine Cookson, Deborah Moggargh (sic), and JK Rowling – One team did get her right – sorry Helen!  whereas nearly everyone got celebrity cook Lorraine Pascal (another local girl from Witney) who I’d thought might be tricky…
  • Teams did better on the other picture round which was all about illustrators; of the harder questions, two teams knew that Albert Uderzo illustrated the Asterix books, not Rene Goscinny; Chris Riddell’s cover for Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book was similarly elusive; but absolutely everyone misidentified the fairy-tale picture of the Princess & the Pea by Edmund Dulac as Arthur Rackham.

The hardest thing when setting a quiz is to gauge a level of difficulty which will produce a good range of scores – difficult enough to separate out top scorers, yet not so hard that the lower scoring teams don’t have fun, and get more than 50%.  We achieved the scores, and I do hope everyone enjoyed the evening as much as I did.



9 thoughts on “Mostly Bookbrains III – what a night!

  1. gaskella says:

    If you were to have done badly, it would surely be only because I included many ‘local’ questions. 🙂

    • gaskella says:

      I’ll award you a retrospective half bonus point! Glad you liked the big sheet. It was lovely to meet you, if only briefly. Hope you enjoy your visit to Abingdon and get home safely now it’s snowing …

  2. Juxtabook says:

    Quiz setting must the be the most onerous task, with trying to get it right and balancing the questions out. Well done you for getting through it.

  3. gaskella says:

    Thank you! This is the third lit quiz I’ve done now, so I have a basic format 4 seems to work well. I’ve been running normal quiz nights for school etc for years, but the lit quizzes are a bit more specialised and need more thought to make them fun! Having Mark from the bookshop as proof-reader also helps, as duplications can creep in – suddenly you find you have 4 Roald Dahl ones or something, yet still each year a question around ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ creeps in!

    • gaskella says:

      We managed to raise over £800 for charity too. I love doing it, but as a quizfan, sometimes I just wish someone else would set a quiz for me to take part in. It will be back in 2013 though!

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