Books Quiz - Genre - Biographies (Questions)

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. James Boswell wrote a famous 1791 biography of which famous figure?
[ ] Daniel Defoe
[ ] Samuel Johnson
[ ] Isaac Newton
[ ] Samuel Pepys
2. 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
3. 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
4. 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
5. The biographer Lady Antonia Fraser married which playwright in 1980?
[ ] Alan Ayckbourn
[ ] Robert Bolt
[ ] Harold Pinter
[ ] Tom Stoppard
6. Who was the subject of Pamela Stephenson's 2002 biography Billy?
[ ] Billy Bragg
[ ] Billy Connolly
[ ] Billy Crystal
[ ] Billy Joel
7. In 1968 Hunter Davies published a biography of which pop group?
[ ] The Beach Boys
[ ] The Beatles
[ ] The Eagles
[ ] The Rolling Stones
8. Which folk singer was the subject of Marc Eliot's 1979 biography Death of a Rebel?
[ ] Woody Guthrie
[ ] Cisco Houston
[ ] Lead Belly
[ ] Phil Ochs
9. The Dictionary of National Biography was published in 2004, in 60 volumes and also online, by which university?
[ ] Cambridge
[ ] Harvard
[ ] Oxford
[ ] Yale
10. Jonathan Bate wrote a 2003 biography of which poet?
[ ] John Clare
[ ] Philip Larkin
[ ] Alfred, Lord Tennyson
[ ] William Wordsworth

 

Books Quiz - Genre - Biographies (Answers)
1. James Boswell wrote a famous 1791 biography of which famous figure?
[ ] Daniel Defoe
[x] Samuel Johnson
[ ] Isaac Newton
[ ] Samuel Pepys
As well as being a biographer, Boswell also wrote poetry, essays and accounts of his travels
2. Former Conservative Party leader William Hague wrote a 2002 biography of which Prime Minister?
[ ] William Pitt the Elder
[x] 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
3. 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
[x] Steve McQueen
Terrill also wrote a biography of Elvis Presley
4. The British writer Lady Antonia Fraser wrote a 2001 biography subtitled The Journey, about which historical character?
[ ] Boadicea
[ ] Anne Boleyn
[x] 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
5. The biographer Lady Antonia Fraser married which playwright in 1980?
[ ] Alan Ayckbourn
[ ] Robert Bolt
[x] 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
6. Who was the subject of Pamela Stephenson's 2002 biography Billy?
[ ] Billy Bragg
[x] Billy Connolly
[ ] Billy Crystal
[ ] Billy Joel
They were married in 1989
7. In 1968 Hunter Davies published a biography of which pop group?
[ ] The Beach Boys
[x] The Beatles
[ ] The Eagles
[ ] The Rolling Stones
He sat in on several of the Sergeant Pepper recording sessions
8. Which folk singer was the subject of Marc Eliot's 1979 biography Death of a Rebel?
[ ] Woody Guthrie
[ ] Cisco Houston
[ ] Lead Belly
[x] Phil Ochs
Ochs, a contemporary of Bob Dylan, hanged himself in 1976
9. The Dictionary of National Biography was published in 2004, in 60 volumes and also online, by which university?
[ ] Cambridge
[ ] Harvard
[x] 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
10. Jonathan Bate wrote a 2003 biography of which poet?
[x] John Clare
[ ] Philip Larkin
[ ] Alfred, Lord Tennyson
[ ] William Wordsworth
Most of Bate's books have been about the works of William Shakespeare