Jeopardy! category: WOMEN AUTHORS (3-3-2015)
$800 clue: She wrote for children’s TV shows like “Clarissa Explains It All” before turning out “The Hunger Games”
The gist: There have been a few times in the last few years when if you were to talk into just about any bookstore, she’d be the first name you’d see. Suzanne Collins‘ ultra-best-selling trilogy The Hunger Games follows the talented archer Katniss Everdeen, a young girl from District 12, on her quest to save her little sister, win the eponymous contest, and ultimately liberate the twelve districts of the united North American quasi-nation Panem from the tyrannical grasp of the Capitol. The series has sold over 65 million, surpassing Amazon’s previous record-holder, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. It was helped in large part by the higher popularity of e-reader devices during The Hunger Games‘ heyday, and in 2012 Collins herself was announced as the most-sold author on the Amazon Kindle device. As of June 9, 2014, 17 of the 21 most highlighted passages on Kindle devices were from the series’ novels. The four-part film series (which split the final novel, Mockingjay, into two parts, the last of which is set to be released this year) is the 16th highest-grossing film franchise of all time, grossing over 2.3 billion dollars and dwarfing its 333 million dollar budget over the first three movies.
But besides The Hunger Games, Collins, who has been writing professional since her late 20s, has written a few other works as well. Her earlier best-selling series The Underland Chronicles similarly follows a young hero, a boy named Gregor, who accidentally finds himself in Underland, a vast underground city located below New York that is inhabited by both humans and oversized, intelligent versions of subterranean creepy-crawlies like bats, mice, cockroaches, and lizards. As the clue says, she has also written for television, as well as assorted other young adult, children’s, and picture books.
The clue: Only a superfan is likely to know about Collins’ TV writing career, so this clue is really asking who wrote The Hunger Games. If you’re familiar with modern young adult fiction, she’s a very, very big name. Not much to discuss here.
In Jeopardy!: The first of Suzanne Collins’ just four clues in the J!Archive was in November 2010, so she hasn’t had much time to accrue clues. Still, four is a lot less than I thought she’d have. Anyway, two of the clues, including this one, mention Hunger Games by name, and the other is in a category on fictional places, giving “Panem” instead. The last one is a FJ! clue, explaining that part of Collins’ inspiration for her famous series came from seeing children competing on a reality show, followed by children fighting in a war on another channel – but it doesn’t name any books specifically.