Game changer…

Newly published author Adrian Conroy tells SO magazine all about his new and unique ‘quiz in a book’ Chicken or Egg? – and why it will make the perfect gift for fact and trivia loving fans this Christmas…


How would you describe Chicken or Egg?

It’s a unique brainteaser book that challenges the reader to place lists of familiar events in chronological order. What came first, second, third…? It’s a simple but engaging format that hasn’t been published before. The challenges are themed, testing your recall of news stories, popular culture and contemporary social history. Everything from era-defining world events and iconic sporting moments to music, films and the internet. You will also find quirky ‘And Finally’ news stories and celebrity ‘missteps’ in addition to bygone technology, TV adverts and cherished childhood snacks.


What’s the key aim of the book?

Your task with Chicken or Egg? is to put a lifetime of memories in order. Even if you don’t know the precise answers, it’s a hugely nostalgic read, evoking fond life memories and personal recollections of where you were when you

heard or experienced particular things in your life.

Give me some examples…So, what came first…? Eddie The Eagle, Who Shot J.R.? or Erica Roe? The Shawshank Redemption or The Truman Show? Tiananmen Square, Chernobyl or German reunification? Pot Noodle, Salt ’n’ Shake or Viennetta? Café Rouge or Wagamama? Maradona’s hand of God, Grobbelaar’s spaghetti legs or Warne’s ball of the century? #MeToo or #JeSuisCharlie? The Crown or Stranger Things? MySpace or Friends Reunited? Vorsprung durch Technik, Hello Boys or J.R. Hartley? Kindle, Fitbit or iPad? Gavin & Stacey or Blue Planet? Top Trumps or Rubik’s Cube? Pump Up the Jam or Pump Up the Volume? Heroes or Celebrations chocolates? It’s a veritable smorgasbord!


What inspired the book?

I’ve always been interested in current affairs, starting with John Craven’s Newsround when I was in short trousers, and I’m fond of trivia. I wanted to create a distinctive quiz that would engage a mildly competitive person with a couple of decades of life on the clock. It’s the perfect companion for a Christmas get together, a sun lounger or the 07:39 commuter train to Cannon Street, and it sparks competitive streaks and interesting conversations when played with friends.


“A unique brainteaser book that challenges the reader to place lists of familiar events in chronological order”


What stood out for you when researching the content?

Firstly just how much we have all witnessed and absorbed in our lives. The countless news headlines on TV, in the newspapers and online. All the popular culture – the TV programmes, chart songs, books and films. The technology, shops and trends that have come and gone. Another thing I found fascinating was identifying the earliest news stories in my own memory. I’m showing my age, but it was the mid-late 1970s: the Vietnamese boat people, the Iceland cod wars, and Bulgarian dissident Giorgi Markov being jabbed in the leg with a poison-tipped umbrella on Waterloo Bridge. I was nine or ten years old when those events happened. I wonder whether the ubiquity of news on devices in the digital age will mean that today’s children will remember events from a much younger age. If it’s on TikTok, they will know about it. One thing I did learn during my research was that I am the same age as Cadbury’s Mini Eggs.


Is this a career change for you?

Yes I worked until earlier this year at investment firm Fidelity, with a short commute from Langton Green to the (now closed) office in Hildenborough. But I was ready for a change and I’m one of those people who reassessed things during the pandemic. I had a musical upbringing and started my career in the pop music business, and lately a big part of me hankered after doing something more creative and less corporate. So I now write in a garden room with my dogs for company. I’ve worked with Tunbridge Wells publishing professionals in designing the book, and local friends have been generous with expert advice. I have more books in the pipeline and aim to build up a small publishing business. I’ve got three daughters to fund through university!


Where can people buy Chicken or Egg?

The paperback and e-book are available on Amazon. It’s a great Christmas gift idea for quiz fans – and that’s most of us, given the popularity of TV quiz shows and pub/school/lockdown quizzes. It’s also ideal for the supposedly ‘hard-to-buy-for’ men of a certain age in your life (as well as the know-all relative in every family!).


Question time

Chicken or Egg? Is a quiz book with a difference, it challenges the reader to place themed groups of familiar events in chronological order. Themes range from news stories and sporting achievement to popular culture and contemporary social history — everything from chart hits and viral videos to iconic TV adverts and cherished childhood foods. It’s an ingeniously simple, engagingly challenging and splendidly nostalgic head-scratcher. Here are a few examples from it…

Chicken or Egg? The Befuddling Book of What Came First, Second, Third is available to buy from Amazon and priced £11.99 with a Kindle version at £9.99

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