Can You Match the Famous Piece of Literature to Its Author?

Marie Hullett

Image: By Eve Livesey/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Stephen King calls books "a uniquely portable magic." It's true: many people experience a feeling of transformation when reading a piece of literature. Whether the life-changing book was "East of Eden," "1984" or "Beloved," these powerful responses often come flooding back as soon as one cracks open the tomb anew. 

As much as books transport us to different times and places, they also help us embody others, experiencing the world through their eyes. As Joyce Carol Oates says, "Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's voice, another's soul." When it happens, you just know. 

If you haven't found a book that moved you like this before, don't fear—there are plenty of authors to add to your reading list. In fact, your special work of fiction just might be waiting for you on the following quiz. 

Most likely, you'll recognize many of the book titles—but even those who have read these novels before may find themselves blanking on the authors. Was that Charlotte Brontë or Emily Brontë, for instance? Dickens or Fitzgerald? Ah, did Hemingway write that nautical novel, or the other one? You'll have to answer these questions to put your literary knowledge to the test! 


The 1985 acclaimed piece of literature "The Handmaid's Tale" has recently experienced a resurgence in sales thanks to a popular TV series of the same name. Do you know who penned the book?

Canadian author Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" is set in a dystopian England and follows the day-to-day of the handmaid Offred. The book explores the subordination of women in patriarchal society and how they fight for their human rights and individuality. In 2018, Atwood said that she will release a sequel novel called "The Testaments" in 2019.

"Mrs Dalloway" tells of just one day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway. Can you pick the writer from this list?

The 1925 novel "Mrs Dalloway" tells the story of a wealthy English woman just after World War I. The book details Clarissa's stream of consciousness as she prepares for a high-society party that evening, frequently reverting to stories from the past, present and future.

Can you name the author of the 1987 novel "Beloved"?

Toni Morrison's "Beloved" is inspired by the true story of Sethe, an African-American slave who escapes to the free state of Ohio just after the Civil War. The Pulitzer Prize winning novel was adapted into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey in 1998 and has been frequently ranked as a top work in American fiction.

Do you know who wrote the famous Spanish language novel "Don Quixote," also known as "The Ingenious Gentleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha"?

Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes published "Don Quixote" in two installments, in 1605 and 1615. The novel tells of Alonso Quixano, whose overconsumption of chivalrous romances makes him go insane and decide to become a knight-errant with the aim of restoring chivalry to his country. It is considered the most important piece of literature from Spain and is highly-regarded worldwide.

"Middlemarch" was published in several installments from 1829 to 1832. Can you name the author?

English author George Eliot, whose real name is Mary Anne Evans, wrote "Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life." Set in the fictional town of Middlemarch, the book explores a number of societal themes including women's rights, marriage, religion, politics and education. Throughout the novel, Eliot explores how the community reacts in the face of undesired change.

Do you know who wrote the 1813 novel "Pride and Prejudice"?

"Pride and Prejudice" is a famously taught romantic novel about Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman who grapples with courtship, romance, love and superficiality versus the genuine. It remains one of the most popular novels in the English language and has been adapted into numerous films, plays and shows.

The monster that is "Frankenstein" has become an integral part of Western culture, from Halloween costumes to spin-offs like "Frankenweenie." Do you know who wrote the novel that spawned it all?

Mary Shelley published the famous novel "Frankenstein" in 1818. The novel tells of a scientist who creates the monster in an unconventional science experiment—a terrifying in appearance, though intelligent creature that possesses dreams, woes and a desire for companionship. Although Shelley drew on existing genres of the time like Gothic and Romantic literature, it is considered an early example of science fiction.

"Jane Eyre" was originally published on October 16, 1847. Do you know who authored it?

English writer Charlotte Brontë originally published "Jane Eyre" under the pseudonym "Currer Bell." Academics consider the novel the first to detail a protagonist's spiritual transformation through first-person narrative, and it contains themes of religion, class and sexuality.

"Things Fall Apart" is a famous modern novel that takes place in Nigeria. Can you name the author?

Nigerian author Chinua Achebe published "Things Fall Apart" in 1958. The book tells of the arrival of Europeans amid pre-colonialism in Nigeria, and is often called mythological or archetypal in nature. Today, it's widely studied across the globe.

Often assigned as middle or high school reading, "To Kill a Mockingbird" remains one of the most widely read books in the U.S. today. Who wrote it?

After its 1960 publication, "To Kill a Mockingbird" became an instant success and soon received a Pulitzer Prize. Lee based the story loosely on events that unraveled during her childhood in Monroeville, Alabama. The Bildungsroman novel grapples with themes of racial injustice in America, which is part of what makes it an enduring classic.

"Invisible Man" is a 1952 novel written by which author?

Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" is an intricate novel that covers the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, black nationalism and Marxism. It is frequently ranked among the top novels in English literature and former President Barack Obama called it one of his inspirations for his memoir "Dreams from My Father."

"One Hundred Years of Solitude" was published in 1967. Do you know who wrote it?

Colombian writer Gabriel García Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" tells the of a multi-generational family from a fictional town in Colombia. The novel serves as a metaphor for the nation's complex history as well as contemporary politics.

Who authored the classic "Little Women," which was first released in 1868?

"Little Women," which is loosely baed on Alcott's own family, focuses on the lives of four sisters from childhood through adulthood. The semi-autobiographical novel received immediate success that led to several sequels. It differed from other novels written for girls at the time in that it explored themes of work and individual identity in women.

"White Noise" is often hailed as an exemplary piece of postmodern literature. Can you pick the author from the list?

Published in 1985, "White Noise" received the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and much critical acclaim. The largely satirical novel tells of a Hitler studies professor and the absurd trials of his life and family relations. The professor and his wife are terrified of death and confronted with chemical spills, drugs and various threats to their mortality throughout the book.

Upon its 1899 publication, "The Awakening" was highly censored in the U.S. Do you know the author of this important work?

"The Awakening" is considered an early feminist work in U.S. history, as it discusses taboo themes for the time including divorce, female sexuality and female desire. In the novel, the protagonist leaves her husband and children on a quest for independence, a plot that was widely condemned and often censored. Afterward, Chopin did not write another novel and struggled to publish any stories due to the controversy.

Who wrote the 1937 novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God"?

Zora Neale Hurston wrote "Their Eyes Were Watching God," which is about a young woman who struggles to be heard and command her own destiny. Today, it's considered a hallmark of African-American and women's literature in the U.S. At the time, though, Hurston said she refused to make the novel about the "the race problem" that permeated in the world around her because she only thought "in terms of individuals."

"War and Peace" is possibly one of the most famous works of literature of all time. Who penned it?

"War and Peace" details the French invasion of Russia and how the war and politics of the time impacted five different aristocratic families. The work largely favors philosophical musings over a linear narrative. Tolstoy said the book is "not a novel, even less it is a poem, and still less a historical chronicle."

"The Remains of the Day" was published in 1989 by which Nobel Prize-winning British author?

"The Remains of the Day" details the life of a butler named Stevens and the loyalty and unrequited love that comes with it. The book received the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989. In 1993, the film adaption of the book, which stars Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

"In Search of Lost Time" was published in seven volumes and totals over 4,000 pages. Do you know the author?

"In Search of Lost Time," which was published between 1913 and 1931, explores the idea of involuntary memory. French writer Marcel Proust recounts the narrator's memories of childhood and adult life, analyzing the idea of time and the meaninglessness of existence along the way.

"The Scarlet Letter" is often assigned as high school reading. Can you name the writer?

The 1850 novel "The Scarlet Letter" is a work of historical fiction set in Puritan Massachusetts during the mid-17th century. The book chronicles the life of Hester Prynne, who births a daughter through an affair and is subsequently scorned by society.

"Middlesex" is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by which author?

The 2002 novel "Middlesex" explores the life of an intersex person named Cal Stephanides. Eugenides said he wanted to write the book due to dissatisfaction with the intersex narrative in the 1980 memoir "Herculine Barbin."

"Fictions" is a famous short story collection by which writer?

Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges wrote the short stories in "Ficciones" (which translates to "Fictions") between 1941 and 1956. The cryptic stories use metaphors and recurring motifs to explore sweeping themes like the nature of the world, society and concepts like time. The translation of these works quickly elevated Borges to global literary fame.

"Wise Blood" was published in 1952 by which American author?

Flannery O'Connor's "Wise Blood" tells of a World War II veteran grappling with his spirituality who decides to form an anti-religious ministry. The peculiar, humorous story is now considered a classic and was made into a movie in 1979.

Who wrote the novel "The Stranger"?

French author Albert Camus published "The Stranger," sometimes alternately titled "The Outsider," in 1942. Camus' novel is often cited as an early example of absurdist and existentialist literature. However, Camus denied that the book is an existentialist work.

Most people are familiar with the story of "Moby-Dick." Do you know who authored this whale of a tale?

The 1851 book "Moby-Dick" chronicles the life of the sailor Ishmael. Many people recognize its opening line, "Call me Ishmael," which has made its way into popular culture for more than a century. Though hailed as an American classic today, it received mixed reviews upon its publication, sold few copies and went out of print before the author's 1891 death.

Here's another harrowing tale about the sea. Who wrote "The Old Man and the Sea"?

Hemingway's 1952 novel, "The Old Man and the Sea," was one of the Nobel Prize-winning author's most famous. The story paints the picture of an elderly Cuban fisher who struggles to reel in a gigantic marlin off the Cuban coast. It received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1952.

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" was first published in a monthly literary magazine in 1890. Can you correctly identify the author?

The editor of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine deleted 500 words of Wilde's work prior to publication out of fear the content was indecent. Even the censored version, though, compelled condemnation from British critics, some of whom said that the author deserved to be prosecuted for violating public morality laws.

Do you know the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "The Grapes of Wrath"?

The 1939 novel "The Grapes of Wrath" tells the story of an impoverished family in Oklahoma during the Great Depression. In search of a better life, the farmers head to California. A highly-acclaimed cinematic version of the novel starring Henry Fonda was released in 1940.

Maybe you read "The Great Gatsby" in school. Do you remember who wrote it?

The 1925 novel "The Great Gatsby" tells of a millionaire who falls in love with a former debutante. The work explores themes like idealism, excess and decadence, and is often read as a criticism of the American Dream.

Do you know who wrote the modernist novel "Ulysses"?

The name Ulysses comes from Odysseus, the hero in Homer's epic work titled "Odyssey." The novel juxtaposes the poem with the events that unravel in the novel, and many characters in the two works contain purposeful similarities. The Irish writer's work faced an obscenity trial in 1921, which was dubbed the "Joyce Wars."

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" was the best-selling novel of the 19th century. Who wrote it?

Stowe's 1852 novel chronicles the struggle of an African-American slave named Uncle Tom, and is considered by many to have been a precursor for the Civil War. In fact, upon meeting Stowe, Abraham Lincoln allegedly said, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war." After the Bible, it was the best-selling book of the 19th century and caused many white Americans to change their views on slavery. Modern scholars have criticized the work for its racist archetypes and descriptions of characters, as well as for the way the main character, Tom, passively accepts his fate.

Who authored the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning novel "The Color Purple"?

"The Color Purple" is a 1982 novel set in American South just after the Civil War. The work is an epistolary novel, meaning it is written in the form of letters between characters. In this case, the book consists of letters from an African-American girl named Celie who writes to God and her sister Nettie.

"Catch-22" was so popular that it became a term for a type of paradoxical situation in the novel. Who wrote it?

The satirical 1961 novel "Catch-22" is set in World War II and tells of the life of a U.S. Air Force captain and his troops. The non-chronological novel employs paradox, circular reasoning and jokes liberally, which is part of why critics deem it so influential to this day.

"Animal Farm" is a novella by which of these writers?

Published in 1945, Orwell said that his novel was inspired by events prior to the 1917 Russian Revolution and Soviet Union's Stalinist era. Orwell was a vocal critic of Stalinism and wrote the book as a satirical work in opposition to it.

"Slaughterhouse-Five" was published in 1969. Can you name the author?

Alternately titled "The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death," Vonnegut's science fiction novel tells the story of Billy Pilgrim during World War II and thereafter. It is often hailed as one of the most successful antiwar novels of all time.

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