The world’s best quizzer? A Croatian, of course!

Pub quizzes, competitions, TV shows quizzes… seems the world is flourished with entertainment that finally has some sense for all- spreading your knowledge, learning new things and actually investing in your knowledge is now an important social capital. Thanks to the popularisation of this kind of quiz shows and pub events, people like Pat Gibson and Kevin Ashman, among many others, have become some sort of intellectual celebrities, especially in the circles of elite Cambridge and Oxford Universities where the ones who win gold on quiz competitions truly enjoy a start status!

Among this intellectual/entertainment creme de la creme, the name of Dorjana Širola is nothing strange or new, but quite the opposite – it’s almost intimidating. Why? Because of Dorjana Širola, a Croatian woman who is one of the best pub quiz competitors of the world and, in the opinion by the many others too, the best female quizzer of the world!

Even as a totally young girl, more specifically as a four-year-old, her parents taught her to read. Even at that fragile age, she seemed to “swallow” books with huge interest and hide into her bit introvert world. And the love for reading just grew bigger and bigger. She has been into everything she could read about and that made her confused in her choice of career.
At some stage, as she says in her own words, Dorjana realized that she would probably work “something with languages” although her interests were very wide and it was difficult to decide to go only one way.
“I dreamed, not quite seriously, that I would one day do a Ph.D. in Oxford and sometimes I still can’t believe that this actually really happened, “recalls Dorjana.

Dorjana Širola, the know-it-all from Rijeka, 45 today,  loved watching quizzes while growing up, especially “Kviskoteka”, a popular television quiz that aired mostly during former Yugoslavia. Her education led her all the way to her postgraduate studies to Oxford University where she joined their pub quiz team and discovered competition quizzes and outside the TV.

She has consistently been highly ranked at the World Cup since her first appearance in 2005, including six results in the top 15 ranking. At the European Championship, she won medals in club competitions and the couple competition, and with the teams of Somerville College and Bodleian Library twice won the famous British TV quiz University Challenge- twice!
Although she doesn’t like media attention and a celebrity status, her results speak for themselves.


After graduating from general linguistics and English language and literature in Zagreb, her education continued at Oxford and Cambridge University and last what we heard – she is also finishing her studies in computer science in Kent!



Now that is an ambitious and a hardworking person. Nevertheless, unlike her foreign quiz co-competitors and opponents, she never cashed in some serious amounts of money, simply because she is here for the knowledge, not the cash.

We hope the story of Dorjana Širola will be a further ambition for many young girls (and boys, too!) to invest in their knowledge and education.

Ana Plevko

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