And the winning school is…

I’m not sure which of the sixteen teams had travelled the furthest to attend the regional winners’ final of the Kids Lit Quiz. Methodist College from Belfast perhaps or Torquay Boys’ Grammar? Then again Dunblane High School had a fair old trek from Scotland. Still, no matter how far they’d travelled they all gathered in the Britannia Suite of the Royal Court Hotel in Coventry, eager to start.                         The teams begin to arrive. Methodist College Belfast seen here, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, despite their 4.00 am start. They’re talking to Dave Cousins, a YA writer whose first novel, 15 Days Without a Head (OUP) is gathering a lot of attention.                             Dunblane High School doing a bit of last minute swotting                             The Salesian College team from Kent looking suitably relaxed                             The teams find their allotted tables and test their buzzers. Everything was really well planned and organised thanks to librarians Jackie Atkinson, Joy Court (Coventry Schools Library Service) and Tricia Adams (SLA) among others. iphone 6 liquid phone case                             Certain showy-off authors brought their own display boards                           The one and only Malorie Blackman was guest of honour. She gave a funny and heart-felt speech about how her dad thought stories were a waste of time and wouldn’t let her have anything other than non-fiction in the house. It wasn’t until she joined the library that she was able to get her hands on real books. She also revealed that she had her first books rejected by over 80 publishers, giving hope to all the budding authors in the room. iphone 8 red silicone case Sitting to the left of Malorie on the photo is reading consultant Alec Williams, who did a brilliant job as the compere of the entire event.                             Here come the girls! Each author was allocated a team to root for and I was paired with St Thomas More RC School from Derbyshire. It was the first time they’d entered the quiz and yet they won their regional heat. What’s more, St Thomas More is a small school of around 400 pupils and the library is based in a spare classroom. I’m sure after today the part-time librarian, Mrs Pitts, will be given humongous amounts to spend on expanding and refurbishment… bound to be. Bound to be… It has to be added that I may have taken my rooting a bit too seriously; the other authors weren’t jumping up and shouting ‘Get in there!’ every time their team got a question right but hey, there’s nowt wrong with a bit of enthusiasm.                               Wayne Mills, the founder of the Kids Lit Quiz, gets down to business. Teams score 2 points for every correct answer and have a point deducted for every wrong answer. I reckon I knew about 10 of the 100+ questions, which is an improvement on previous occasions. I can’t divulge any of the questions as Wayne might use them in other heats. You wouldn’t know the answers anyway. star trek iphone 7 case Honest. They’re that tough.                                               St Thomas More’s team: Rebecca, Katie, Alys and Olivia with their head of English Mrs Clifford. You’ll never guess what? St Thomas More School were only outstanding, weren’t they? They pounded those buzzers for all they were worth and tied in second place with Cherwell School (Oxford). This meant – wait for it – a SUDDEN DEATH round! Anything with ‘sudden’ and ‘death’ in it gets the heart thumping a bit and I could barely sit still. hardback iphone 7 plus case Unfortunately Cherwell, who’d obviously bribed Wayne when no one was watching, triumphed in this quick-fire best of three round. Never mind, girls, there’s always next year. The overall winners were Cockermouth School who go forward to represent the UK in the World Final in Durban, South Africa. Congratulations to all the teams who participated – you were all a credit to your schools and your region. iphone 7 plus cases personalised   Oh and guess what else? Despite my rubbish knowledge I won a book in the authors’ round. Way-hay! I can’t remember the question but the answer was a writer with the initials PSB. That’s all I’m saying.

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