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Genre - Biographies
William Hague wrote a biography of William Wilberforce.

Genre - Biographies

A biography is an account of a person's life written by somebody else. They come in two forms: authorised and unauthorised. An authorised biography is written with the permission, the cooperation, and occasionally with the input of a subject or a subject's heirs. An unauthorised biography is done without the subject’s consent. These are often opposed, as in the case of Tom Cruise whose lawyers described his unauthorised biography as:

"A bigoted, defamatory assault replete with lies."

Even if you don't know the answer then you might well guess the subject of Pamela Stephenson's biography called Billy. Not so easy is the pop group written about by Hunter Davies or the historical character featured in a biography by Lady Antonia Fraser. Have a go at this quiz on biographies and see how well you do!

1.
Which folk singer was the subject of Marc Eliot's 1979 biography Death of a Rebel?
Woody Guthrie
Cisco Houston
Lead Belly
Phil Ochs
Ochs, a contemporary of Bob Dylan, hanged himself in 1976
2.
Who was the subject of Pamela Stephenson's 2002 biography Billy?
Billy Bragg
Billy Connolly
Billy Crystal
Billy Joel
They were married in 1989
3.
The Dictionary of National Biography was published in 2004, in 60 volumes and also online, by which university?
Cambridge
Harvard
Oxford
Yale
The book contains the biographies of 59,665 men and women who have shaped British history, from the time of the Romans to the present day
4.
James Boswell wrote a famous 1791 biography of which famous figure?
Daniel Defoe
Samuel Johnson
Isaac Newton
Samuel Pepys
As well as being a biographer, Boswell also wrote poetry, essays and accounts of his travels
5.
The British writer Lady Antonia Fraser wrote a 2001 biography subtitled The Journey, about which historical character?
Boadicea
Anne Boleyn
Marie Antoinette
Mary Queen of Scots
As well as biographies, of which she has done many, Lady Antonia also writes historical fiction and the Jemima Shore crime novels
6.
In 1968 Hunter Davies published a biography of which pop group?
The Beach Boys
The Beatles
The Eagles
The Rolling Stones
He sat in on several of the Sergeant Pepper recording sessions
7.
The biographer Lady Antonia Fraser married which playwright in 1980?
Alan Ayckbourn
Robert Bolt
Harold Pinter
Tom Stoppard
The pair had been having an affair since 1975 when both were already married. Fraser divorced her first husband in 1977 and Pinter divorced his wife in 1980, allowing their own marriage to take place
8.
Jonathan Bate wrote a 2003 biography of which poet?
John Clare
Philip Larkin
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
William Wordsworth
Most of Bate's books have been about the works of William Shakespeare
9.
The US writer Marshall Terrill wrote a 1993 biography subtitled Portrait of an American Rebel, about which Hollywood star?
Marlon Brando
Kirk Douglas
Charlton Heston
Steve McQueen
Terrill also wrote a biography of Elvis Presley
10.
Former Conservative Party leader William Hague wrote a 2002 biography of which Prime Minister?
William Pitt the Elder
William Pitt the Younger
David Lloyd George
Margaret Thatcher
He also wrote a biography of William Wilberforce, the independent politician and campaigner in the movement to abolish the slave trade

 

Author:  Tony Rennick

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