Name that author

Freshman English major Aidan Watson-Morris, and English graduate student,Shawn Keeney, dominated at the third annual Name That Author competition.

The competition, which was held Nov. 7 in the University Room (BB 2.06.04) was sponsored by the UTSA Department of English. Cash prizes, which came from Dr. Sonja Lanehart’s endowment, were awarded to the top three participants at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The first place winners were awarded $300, second place won $200 and third place won $100.

The competition was open to all undergraduate and graduate students. However, the event was marketed primarily to English students who could receive extra credit in some classes for participating in or attending the event.

“Just about everyone who volunteers is in English,” Dr. Steven Kellman, the moderator and creator of the event, said.

There were four contestants for each level, and they were instructed to hit a buzzer when they wanted to answer. Each correct answer earned the participant 10 points, and each wrong answer cost the participant five points. The questions focused on American and British literature with some linguistics.

Over the past few weeks, Kellman created about 20 pages of questions for the event.

“I try to think of (questions) that are fair, that would be entertaining and that represent a large range of literature,” he said, “so that somebody stuck on one question could answer another.”

The event lasted for an hour with the first half-hour devoted to the undergraduate competition and the second half-hour dedicated to the graduate competition.

Watson-Morris, who won first place at the undergraduate level, conquered the competition. He ended the night with 225 points. The second place winner, Zachary Ruffcorn, earned 40 points. Sarah Guff and Eva Duran tied with 10 points each, with Guff winning the tie-breaker round for third place.

While Watson-Morris found the competition “really fun,” he admitted, “I thought it’d be harder.”

Watson-Morris, who didn’t prepare for the competition in advance, continued, “I was surprised by how much I knew. I guess I’m just good at remembering stuff.”

Keeney, the graduate first place winner, also dominated. He finished the night with 260 points. The second place winner, Chris Guzman, earned 70 points, and of third place winner Lindsey Hall, the scorekeeper English Department Chair Dr. Mark Bayer said, “She got a few right at the end.”

Keeney, the winner of the Name That Author competition for three years in a row, said that he prepared by taking a few online trivia quizzes.

“It’s like Jeopardy for literature,” Keeney said. “So I just wanted to be part of it.”

Kellman created Name That Author after he worked on a similar event for the National Book Critics Circle at the Texas Book Festival in Austin.

“It was a big hit. Everyone had a good time. The audience got very much into it,” Kellman said of the first event. “So, I thought why not try it at UTSA?”

The audience at this year’s competition, which consisted mostly of English majors and professors, also seemed involved with the event. They could often be heard whispering the answers when questions were posed and eagerly answered any questions the competitors could not answer.

“They were challenging but impressive questions that got us all thinking,” Dr. Bridget Drinka, the adjudicator of the event, commented. “But, only Dr. Kellman knew all the answers.”

According to Kellman, the purpose of the competition is for the “enlightenment and entertainment” of the audience and the participants.

“(I want those involved to take away) an enhanced understanding of literature, the thrill of competition and comradeship,” Kellman said.

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