Fabian DeSoto, The Paisano
Do you know what the term ‘hydriotaphia’ means? Do you know what the structure of a ‘Tanka’, a specific type of Japanese poem is? Maybe you don’t know the answers, but the contestants at last Friday’s 4th annual competition of “Name That Author” at UTSA might have.
Split into two groups, undergraduate and graduate UTSA students, the contestants were asked questions of every sort imaginable as they pertain to literature. Dr. Steven Kellman, professor of comparative literature at UTSA, was the moderator and questionnaire of the night’s festivities.
The questions Dr. Kellman asked ran the gamut, from the names of poets, critics, playwrights, Nobel Peace Prize winners in Literature, places and characters in works of literature, important time periods and major players within the history of literature. Dr. Kellman also switched up the questions at points, asking for the name of works of literature based on a few lines of a book, stanzas of a poem or of a unique stage direction of a play. Contestants were awarded 10 points for every correct answer and deducted five points if they answered incorrectly. Prizes were awarded to the top three scorers.
The game-show feel of the event was complemented by the use of buzzers by each contestant. Tough questions, like identifying obscure writing structure and little-known literary terms were met with prolonged silence, eased only when the moderator turned to the audience for the correct answer.
All of the undergraduate winners were English majors. Aidan Watson-Morris, who competed last year for the first time and won, attained first place again this year. When asked how he prepared for the competition, Watson-Morris said he didn’t spend any time formally preparing for the competition.
“Almost every class within my major helped me learn what I needed to know,” explained Watson-Morris, who plans to buy books with his prize money.
Of the graduate winners, Shawn Keeney won first place by a large margin, making this his fourth win in a row. “I attribute my win to paying attention in class, with the help of some online trivia,” said Keeney. His love of reading is attributed to the way that, as Keeney states, “it teaches us some of our own history.”
During the undergraduate competition, second place was decided by a tiebreaker between Eric Pitty and Jordan Smith. Ultimately, Pitty secured the second place slot after answering the tiebreaking question correctly. Pitty is part of the Honors College, and considers his decision to be an English major one of the best he’s ever made.
“Majoring in English is a romantic way to make a living,” explained Pitty, who plans to become a professor, filmmaker, actor or possibly a motorcycle rider. “The money is nice, but really, it’s a great networking opportunity to show your stuff and to meet professors.”
The full list of winners are:
1st: Shawn Keeney
2nd: Calvin Hoovestol
3rd: Chris Guzman
1st: Aidan Watson-Morris
2nd: Eric Pitty
3rd: Jordan Smith