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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Win big by reading Jane Austen

She’s a brilliant prose stylist, a peerless satirist, the creator of indelible characters. Yeah, yeah, but it turns out that the real reason to read Jane Austen is that it’ll help you win TV quiz shows.

A mere four months after Sarah Olson ran the “Stone Cold Jane Austen” category to beat a five-time champ on Jeopardy! comes the news that the team from Cambridge University’s Trinity College won the final of Britain’s venerable University Challenge quiz show in part because of – yes – team members’ “knowledge of the novels of Jane Austen.”

YouTube video of the showdown does not seem to be available, so it’s impossible to assess the difficulty of the questions. The Daily Telegraph’s reviewer says the only answer he got was “Jane Austen’s Emma,” which doesn’t make it sound as if this competition would have fazed your average Janeite.

Interestingly, all the members of both the winning Cambridge team and the losing Oxford squad were men – proof, in case any were needed, that even boys should read Austen.

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