Friday, 2 December 2011

Kids' Lit Quiz

Edge Author Katie Dale had a wonderful time at this year's Kids' Lit Quiz.
On Monday night the North London heat of the International Kids' Lit Quiz was held at Broxbourne School.
The spelling round
took ages to mark!
 This year, three-quarters of THE EDGE went  along to help out. I was delighted to join fellow  EDGE authors Savita Kalhan (THE LONG WEEKEND), Miriam Halahmy (HIDDEN), Sara Grant (DARK PARTIES) and Keren David (WHEN I WAS JOE) with TALL STORY author Candy Gourlay to take on the all-important task of marking the test papers! 

The National Kids' Lit Quiz, founded by New Zealand quizmaster Wayne Mills, is an annual book competition for kids aged 10-13. Each school can enter up to two teams of four pupils, and there are heats in the UK, New Zealand, China and South Africa, with the US and Canada soon to join. There are 16 regional heats in the UK, then the winning team from each heat competes in a National Final, held this year at Warwick University TODAY! 

The winning team will then be invited to New Zealand to compete against the winners from New Zealand, China, and South Africa for the International Title - as well as an amazing tour, including volcanoes and Hobbiton itself!
The larger than life Quizmaster himself, Wayne Mills,
with authors Savita Kalhan and Miriam Halahmy
The heat consisted of 100 questions on children's literature, divided into 10 categories, which vary each year. This year the categories included animals, trilogies, comics and cartoons, a picture round - and the dreaded spelling round!
The questions, devised by the enthusiastic larger-than-life top-hatted Wayne Mills varied enormously - from Ancient Greek mythology and biblical questions, to Tintin, Harry Potter, and even Barack Obama! Wayne reads enough books to devise several thousand questions each year - and claims to have never asked the same question twice!
The Authors United Team: Fiona Dunbar, Sophia Bennett,
Sita Brahmachari, and THE EDGE's Dave Cousins - desperately
 trying to remember the main characters from The Hunger Games
 Sara Grant and I had prepped him on in the car!
 Some of the questions were really quite tough, and I didn't envy EDGE author Dave Cousins, who was actually on one of two author teams AUTHORS UNITED with Fiona Dunbar (KITTY SLADE MYSTERIES), Sophia Bennett (THREADS) and Sita Brahmachari (ARTICHOKE HEARTS) competing furiously against AUTHORS ALLSTARS Steve Feasey (CHANGELING), Josh Lacey (ISLAND OF THIEVES), Echo Freer (MAGENTA ORANGE) and Samira Osman (QUICKSILVER).
The Authors All-Stars Team: Steve Feasey,
Josh Lacey, Echo Freer and Samira Osman 
Fancy testing your knowledge? Try some sample questions here.

Between rounds, bonus questions were asked, giving the opportunity to win copies of books donated by authors and publishers to the spectators (but not visiting authors, despite the best efforts of Candy Gourlay who was desperate to win a copy of Dave Cousins' FIFTEEN DAYS WITHOUT A HEAD!)

The tension was palpable as the best teams in North London put their heads together, racked their brains, whispered fervently, and scribbled their answers furiously...
Bishops Stortford College B team put their heads together - quite rightly ignoring
 the distraction of postcards for Someone Else's Life and 15 Days Without a Head!

The Herts and Essex B Team ended the quiz with a HUGE
stack of won books they'd won - revision for next year?
Finally teams and markers finally took a well-deserved break while scoring was undertaken by authors Mark Robson (DRAGON ORB series), Pat Walsh (THE CROWFIELD CURSE) and Pauline Francis (TRAITOR'S KISS).
Taking a break from marking -
Savita Kalhan, Sara Grant, Me, and Candy Gourlay

Sara Grant, me and Keren David.
Miriam Halahmy,
Savita Kalhan and Sara Grant

It was tight at the top, with incredibly high scores, but finally the winning team was announced as Aine, Shan, Emma and Evie, representing the City of London School For Girls. 
Arnold House came second, and third place went to Orley Farm.

The Winners!! Aine, Shan, Emma and Evie,
representing the City of London School For Girls.

AUTHORS ALL-STARS were just pipped to the post by AUTHORS UNITED, who racked up a whopping score of 92 out of 100 (just one more mark than the winning kids team!) but the real winners of the day were books themselves. What an ingenious, fun, and exciting way to promote reading. I can't wait till next year!

For details of how to enter next year's Kids' Lit Quiz, click here.

Guess those postcards won't be distracting anybody any more!


  1. Oh God! I love the snow. Thank goodness I was a marker and not on the author's team. The questions were soooooo hard!! Great blog Katie and another wonderful time on The Edge!

  2. It was a really enjoyable afternoon at the Kids' Lit Quiz and great to meet so many enthusiastic young readers. Still not quite sure how we managed to get a score of 92. All those years of reading Artemis Fowl obviously paid off.

  3. Great photos of a fab afternoon with fellow Edgies in a room full of so many enthusiastic readers! I find it amazing that one person's idea has crossed oceans and seas, borders and mountains, to reach and inspire young readers. Thanks Wayne and thanks to all the librarians and teachers involved in organising the Kid Lit Quiz across the UK.

  4. Well said, Savita. It's thanks to librarians and teachers, that many of these young readers are such dedicated book fans in the first place. And yet the government are still cutting the Schools Library Service and closing public libraries …

  5. A great afternoon - sorry I had to go early. Dave, I noticed that most of the teams came from private schools. I'd love to see more state schools getting involved - despite the swingeing cuts to school library services.