We have revealed the answers to our Christmas Quiz - one a day for all of January - to provide even more inspiration for your New Year resolution to read more (exceptional) books.

Quiz maestro James Walton - writer, editor and host of BBC Radio4’s The Write Stuff - dug deep into our Booker Library and come up with some extremely tricksy questions to test your novel knowledge over Noël.

The quiz is called Knowledge of Angels - and we can’t tell you why until January 31st because that’s a bonus question. (Please note, however, that it should not be confused with Knowledge of Angles, an entertaining Christmas quiz from the Young Maths Club about the variety of spaces between intersecting lines or surfaces.)

Did you achieve the spurious title with no real world significance of Christmas Bookerworm 2021?

Publication date and time: Published

Round One: A Time for Family

  1. Which author was shortlisted for the Booker Prize with Mother’s Milk – the fourth book in his Patrick Melrose series?

    Answer: Edward St Aubyn
  2. Which author was shortlisted with The Children’s Book – 19 years after winning with a novel that features the fictional Victorian poets Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte?

    Answer: A.S. Byatt
  3. Which Booker-winning novel of recent years features a real-life historical character mourning his son Willie?

    Answer: Lincoln in the Bardo
  4. A woman tries to find out about her step-grandmother’s life in which Booker-winning novel – the only one written by an author who also won an Oscar?

    Answer: Heat and Dust – by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (who in fact won two Oscars, for the screenplays of A Room with a View and Howards End).  
  5. Who are the only father and son to have both been shortlisted for the Booker (the father won)?

    Answer: Kingsley and Martin Amis. Kingsley Amis won with The Old Devils in 1986, having previously been shortlisted for Ending Up and Jake’s ThingMartin Amis’ only shortlisting was for Time’s Arrow in 1991.

  6. Who are the only mother and daughter to have both been shortlisted for the Booker (the daughter won)?

    Answer: Anita and Kiran Desai. Anita Desai has been shortlisted three times for Clear Light of Day, In Custody and Fasting, Feasting without ever winning. Kiran Desai won in 2006 with The Inheritance of Loss – since when she hasn’t written another novel.

  7. Which Booker-shortlisted novel of the 1980s is set in a society devised by a group called the Sons of Jacob?

    Answer: The Handmaid’s Tale – by Margaret Atwood.

  8. Which Booker-winning novel – whose title is a place where none of the action is set – opens with a son being beaten by his father in Putney?

    Answer: Wolf Hall – by Hilary Mantel. (The beaten boy is Thomas Cromwell.)

  9. Professor David Lurie and his daughter Lucy are the two main characters in which Booker-winning novel, whose author was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature four years later?

    Answer: Disgrace - by J.M. Coetzee 

  10. Amma and her daughter Yazz are two of the 12 main characters in which Booker-winning novel, whose author was the first black woman to be awarded the prize?

    Answer: Girl, Woman, Other - by Bernardine Evaristo
Mr Fezziwig's Ball, from Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Round Two: A Time for Eating and Drinking

  1. In which Booker-winning novel does Stevens the butler continue to serve port as his father lies dying upstairs?

    Answer: Remains of the Day - by Kazuo Ishiguro 
  2. Mrs Cream and Nurse Bacon are among the characters in which shortlisted novel by Sarah Waters, whose title is Victorian slang for a pickpocket?

    Answer: Fingersmith (and watch our exclusive video with Sarah Waters).
  3. Whose only Booker shortlisting so far was for the novel An Ice-Cream War?

    Answer: William Boyd.
  4. Who wrote the shortlisted novel The Van, about a mobile chip-shop during Ireland’s 1990 World Cup campaign?

    Answer: Roddy Doyle (who later won for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha). 
  5. Which Irish writer has been shortlisted for The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto?

    Answer: Patrick McCabe
  6. Which winning novel opens with the main character waking up on a Glasgow street after a two-day bender?

    Answer: How late it was, how late - by James Kelman
  7. Which winning novel centres around a school shooting in ‘the barbecue sauce capital of central Texas’?

    Answer: Vernon God Little - by DBC Pierre
  8. Which author wrote the Booker winner that opens in the Coach and Horses, a south London pub, and who was, appropriately enough, badly hungover on the Today programme the morning after the prize ceremony?

    Answer: Graham Swift (the novel was Last Orders)
  9. Which fictional diarist wrote this about the 1991 winner: ‘2pm: I am going to quietly read a book all weekend and listen to classical music. Maybe will read The Famished Road. 8.30pm: Blind Date was v.g. Just going for another bottle of wine.’

    Answer: Bridget Jones - in Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
  10. After describing a cake decorated with jellytots, which fictional diarist wrote this about a novel shortlisted in 1973: ‘I am reading The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch. I can only understand one word in ten. It is now my ambition to actually enjoy one of her books. Then I will know I am above the common herd.’

    Answer: Adrian Mole – in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend
Cheese enjoying a feast Christmas card

Round Three: All the trimmings

All the correct answers here contain a word (or, in one case, two words) associated with Christmas in some way.

  1. Which Canadian author’s two Booker shortlistings were for The Stone Diaries and Unless?

    Answer: Carol Shields
  2. What was the only Booker winner of the 1990s that was a first novel?

    Answer: The God of Small Things - by Arundhati Roy
  3. Whose ‘Testament’ earned Colm Tóibín his third Booker shortlisting?

    Answer: Mary (The Testament of Mary)
  4. Which novel, set largely in Belgium, earned Alan Hollinghurst his first shortlisting?

    Answer: The Folding Star
  5. Two novels with ‘Tiger’ in the title have won the Booker: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - and which other?

    Answer: The White Tiger - by Aravind Adiga
  6. In Their Wisdom, shortlisted in 1974, was by which veteran author - perhaps best known for the novel-sequence Strangers and Brothers and the lecture Two Cultures, about the harmful split between science and the humanities?

    Answer: C.P. Snow
  7. In that same year of 1974, the prize was shared by Nadine Gordimer’s The Conservationist – and which novel by Stanley Middleton?

    Answer: Holiday
  8. What was the first novel published by Saul Bellow after his 1971 stint as a Booker judge?

    Answer: Humboldt’s Gift
  9. Lloyd Jones’s shortlisted novel Mister Pip drew heavily on a classic novel by which author?

    Answer: Charles Dickens (the one with the two Christmas-related words). The novel was Great Expectations, whose main character is Pip.
  10. What was the first film based on a Booker-winning novel to also win the Oscar for Best Picture?

    Answer: Schindler’s List – based on Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally, the 1982 winner, which was renamed Schindler’s List in America. (The only other film based on a Booker winner to win the Best Picture Oscar so far is The English Patient, based on Michael Ondaatje’s 1992 winner).

PS: There’s also quite a hard bonus point for knowing where the title of the quiz comes from.

Answer to the PS: Knowledge of Angels was a shortlisted novel in 1994 by Jill Paton Walsh.


The Cake Walk, early 20th century Christmas card.

All the Booker books in our quiz

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
Prize winner