In my other life, I work at Keswick School as an English teacher and school librarian. In December 2019, my Kids' Lit team became the UK National Champions in the sport of reading and bagged their place as the first team through to the prestigious World Final which would be held in New Zealand in July 2020. Preparations immediately began to raise the money for the flights and we got ready to represent the country as Team GB against the most well-read youngsters from around the world.
Then it was cancelled.
In March, just before schools were closed and the country went into lockdown, it was announced that for the first time since the Literature Quiz for Kids was launched in 2003, the final was cancelled. Not postponed, but off. Not happening. At all. Ever.
The four members of the UK team; Niamh McMullin, Adrian Megan, Will Harrison and Bertie Cook, not to mention their coach - me - were all devastated that the once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity was not going to happen.
Obviously it was the loss of the chance to compete in the World Final itself, but it was so much more than that. There was allsorts organised for the teams in New Zealand: from a visit to Hobbiton, to meeting each other and to the gala dinner on the final evening. When we heard it was all off, we couldn't believe it.
Just days after the announcement, schools in the UK closed and, like all other children in the country, the four team members were stuck at home, unable to see each other or commiserate with each other. But as the date of the trip drew near, it was decided that something still needed to be done to mark the occasion and remember their remarkable achievement.
A quiz was set up for the team, using Zoom to allow everyone to compete, sadly against each other, rather than with each other. I set the questions for two of the rounds, but each team member also ran a round: coming up with the questions and delivering it themselves. Although it wasn't a World Final, it was still great fun and I was very impressed with the questions the students came up with. There were quite a few I couldn't answer, which just shows how well-read they are!
At the end of the quiz, the result was very close with Adrian beating Niamh to the winning post by just half a mark! For more information about the Kids' Lit Quiz, visit https://www.kidslitquiz.com/home.php