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She was a contestant on the ultimate trivia show, winning an impressive 40 consecutive times. She’s now giving something new a try: hosting a trivia event herself. 

On Tuesday, “Jeopardy!” game show champ Amy Schneider is the slated emcee for the Bay Area Book Festival’s inaugural Literary Pub Trivia night at the Albany bar The Ivy Room, and she’s excited to be taking on that role.

“As a lifelong fan of books and of trivia, it’s a good fit,” remarks Schneider, who hails from Oakland.

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The Bay Area Book Festival is typically held annually in Downtown Berkeley in May; this literature-focused trivia event is a summer fundraiser for the 2023 festival, scheduled for May 6-7. 

Literary Pub Trivia will test contestants’ knowledge of all things (and people) literary. It’s a fun event for book lovers, avid readers, writers and editors, holders of English and literature-specific B.A.s, M.A.s and Ph.D.s, trivia-game enthusiasts — the list could go on.

Oakland “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider will emcee Bay Area Book Festival’s inaugural Literary Pub Trivia on Tuesday at the Ivy Room in Albany. (Photo courtesy Sean Black)

While Schneider welcomes the title of host, she shares that she left the creation of trivia questions up to Bay Area Book Festival staff — and was fine with that.

As she explains, “I’ve tried to write trivia questions off and on occasionally, and it’s a lot harder than you necessarily think because you have to pick questions that some people will know but not everyone will know.

“And everything that you know is obvious to you, and everything you don’t is obscure to you, so it’s hard to find that balance. I find that I don’t have a good sense of what difficulty level trivia questions will play at, so they took that on themselves.”

Schneider has seen what they’ve come up with though and confirms a wide range of literature-themed topics, as well as different question types and formats for the trivia game itself.

As she shares, “They’re also doing a thing — I guess you’d call it ‘wagering’ — where for some of the sections, you’ll assign point values to the questions for yourself, kind of betting which ones you’re the most competent on. So that’s an interesting twist to it.”

Literary prizes and musical hints

And it wouldn’t be a trivia game without a bit of a competitive element — something Schneider had her share of experience with during those many “Jeopardy!” games she won. At Literary Pub Trivia, contestants will compete on teams of up to six people, with the top-three scoring teams and the team dubbed “best named” winning donated prizes from local independent bookstores, the Oakland A’s and Bedrock Wine Co. of Sonoma.

To fuel the fun and competition, a DJ will be there spinning music that offers contestants some trivia answer hints — teams will need to listen closely to vie for “first to correctly answer.”

As a “Jeopardy!” contestant, Schneider broke barriers and achieved certain significant “firsts” herself. She is the highest game-winning woman on the show; she’s also the first openly transgender contestant to qualify for “Jeopardy!’s” Tournament of Champions, an elite competition for past “Jeopardy!” winners.

August is Transgender History Month in SF

Coincidentally, this August is San Francisco’s inaugural Transgender History Month recognition and celebration. And though Schneider’s Literary Pub Trivia emceeing is happening in the East Bay city of Albany, there’s certainly still a connection there.

Says Schneider, “I’m very interested in the history, obviously, and, of course, there’s few places with more of it than the Bay Area.”

And Schneider, who is now a part of that history, is more than ready for her first emceeing role this upcoming Tuesday. 

Bay Area Book Festival’s first Literary Pub Trivia benefit takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Ivy Room, 860 San Pablo Ave., Albany. It’s a 21+ event, and masks are encouraged. For tickets, $25, and more information, visit https://www.baybookfest.org/.