1. Walking with Lions – Tales from a Diplomatic Past is a memoir by an author recently much in the news. Its title refers to the author’s visit to the court of ruler X, who was known to raise lions and have them around his palace. In fact, one of X’s titles was ‘Lion of the Tribe of Judah’. Identify the author and who is X?
2. The Chatsworth House is the residence of the Dukes of Devonshire; among the treasures of the family is the beautiful Kniphausen Hawk, a 1 ft. tall ceremonial drinking cup encrusted with precious stones, crafted in Germany in 1697. Why does this artefact draw literary enthusiasts every year?
3. One of two famous works by the writer revolving around a train journey, this story had its origins in a 1922 novella The Plymouth Express; the story involves the murder of an American heiress Ruth Kettering, who is carrying a ruby called the Heart of Fire, and unravels aboard a luxury train that carried wealthy passengers from Calais to the French Riviera. What work?
4. Which famous author, the first to be awarded the Sahitya Akademi award for writing in English, is shown as the wicket-keeper on the cover of Ramachandra Guha’s book, A Corner of a Foreign Field?
5. The Odakkuzhal Award is a prestigious literary award presented for works in the Malayalam language. It was instituted by the poet G Sankara Kurup in 1968, with part of the money he received for something in 1965. What did he receive?
6. “There are only three sports: X, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games”. Famous quote by which macho author, who actually wrote a non-fiction book on sport X where he explores the meaning of fear and courage.
7. A description of which literary sleuth, created by Anita Nair in 2012:
… “soft in the middle, blurred at the edges” who knocks back shots of Old Monk, lovingly tends to his Bullet, and is blessed with superior deduction skills, that superpower of every hero detective from Poirot to Dalgliesh, is an anomaly in the Bengaluru police force and therefore a perfect protagonist.
8. Famous for his prominently large nose, this 17th century French duelist and dramatist was the subject of a famous play. His own works The Other World & The States and Empires of the Sun are considered to be classics of early science fiction with descriptions of travels to the moon on firecracker powered rockets. Who?
9. Which classic novel manages to include Sati in its hero’s adventures and has ensured that students grasp the geography lesson about how people save time while venturing eastward.
10. This satire highlights the tragicomic absurdities of war. It has seen its name become a part of the English language. (Did it inspire Chetan Bhagat to include numbers in his book titles?)
11. While this phrase may have been previously in use, it gained mainstream use when Edwin O’ Connor used it in the title of his 1956 novel. The phrase/novel’s title stems from the fact that this election was a ---- ----- for the protagonist Frank Skeffington’s old school politics, since American politics had evolved to the point where guys like him could not survive. What phrase/title?
12. Both the winner and runner-up of a race in the land of the free and the home of the brave have won Grammy awards for their books. Who and for which books?
By Prof. M. V. Rajeev Gowda, Congress member of the Rajya Sabha, with research by Nexus Consulting fb.com/consultnexus