Monday, 7 December 2015

Kids' Lit Quiz

How I wish this had been around when I was a kid!

A quiz just for those of us permanently in danger of tripping over our own feet because our noses are stuck deep within a book (literally, in my case; I was very short-sighted).

I wasn't much good at sport (I was captain of the netball team in Y6, but I went to a very small primary school. We only just had enough girls to make up a team. Everyone had to be in it and someone had to be captain). I was the only kid in the whole school invited not to be in the choir. I was hopeless at ballet. But I read. I read and read and read. If someone had come along and said there's a national competition and it's all about books and who wants to be in the team, I'd have (a) thought I was dreaming and (b) jumped out of my seat waving my hand in the air before you could say Ann of Green Gables.



A big part of the fun of being a children's author is getting to live the dreams I had as a child, but as a grown-up. That's how I felt when I was invited along to be on the author and librarian team for the Norfolk heat of the fantastic Kids' Lit Quiz in November. I joined fellow authors Alex Scarrow and Alexander Graham Smith. We were pipped at the post by the winning team from Litcham High School (no shame there; they won the national final last year!)

Author and librarian team at Norfolk heat. Picture from Norfolk SLS Website

This weekend I went off to the National Final in Oxford - in the super-swanky grand Town Hall (there weren't many dull moments, but any that there were, were happily filled with gazing at the extraordinary wedding-cake ceiling decorations).



Lots of authors were invited, each paired up with one of the teams. I was delighted to be with Litcham High School, the team I'd met at the regional heat. The girls (and their coaches) were such a delight - enthusiastic, smart, funny, friendly, that it was a pleasure to be their 'pet author'. They did a great job too and came a very close second.


Litcham teams at regional heat with quiz master, Wayne Mills. Photograph from Norfolk SLS Website

Congratulations to all the teams who took part. Your bookish knowledge and speedy reaction times on those buzzers was astounding.  And a special congratulations to winning team, Hamilton College, who will go off to New Zealand to represent the UK in the International Final next year.

Another hightlight was the wonderful opening speech by Frank Cottrell Boyce (author of Millions and Cosmic and other great books). I don't think I was the only author in the audience sniffing back the tears when he talked about  'laying down sunlight' - the power of the books we read as children to fortify us and find ways to be happy throughout our lives.

To find out more about Kids' Lit Quiz have a look at their website. There are lots of pictures from this year's final. Thank you to everyone involved in organising the quiz.

This is nothing to do with being an author, but here I am with my current netball team; another example of living my childhood dreams all over again!