Can you tell an author's sex?

Written By Lingkar Dunia on Saturday, June 4, 2011 | 1:35 PM

The V.S. Naipaul quiz

In an intriguing comment on my post "Naipaul reckons female authors are inferior," Judith reveals that she took part in an intriguing quiz staged by The Guardian.

Well, intriguing comments are just that, intriguing, so I took part it in myself.

The quiz begins by reporting that V.S. Naipaul boasts he only needs to read a paragraph or two of a bit of writing to know whether it was penned by a woman or a man.

You are challenged to match your skills to his.

Then it gives quotes from ten unnamed authors, all famous, and you have to guess if they are male or female. 

The nagging familiarity of some of the paragraphs can be distracting.  For instance, I was convinced that one of the quotes was from the amazing Elizabeth Strout, and it turned out that it wasn't.  But hey, at least it was written by another woman. 

I did slightly better than Judith, scoring 5 out of 10, though I suppose I should subtract one because of the misidentification above.

I would like to see grumpy old V.S. Naipaul have a go!


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