A SCHOOL has made a small slice of local history by winning a major book quiz for the fifth time in a row.
Four pupils from St Edmund’s Catholic School beat 24 teams from nine secondary schools at the fifth 2012 Portsmouth Literature Quiz.
And with a total score of 65 out of 80 points across eight nailbiting rounds they even gave a team of authors, made up of Miriam Halahmy, Ali Sparkes, Andy Briggs and Angela McAllister, a run for their money.
Tahir Kanani, 13, said: ‘It feels great to win, I feel ecstatic. The other teams did brilliantly and they certainly kept us on our toes, but I’m glad we’ve come first again for our school.
‘Today has been particularly significant for me as Ali Sparkes is my favourite author and it was this quiz that introduced me to her books in year six. I couldn’t be happier.’
India Beaumont, 12, revealed the key to their success was for each team member to research one of the authors at the event as they knew many questions would be based on their lives and works.
She said: ‘We had a good strategy and it paid off. Because our school had already won four times in a row the pressure was on as we felt we had to deliver.
‘I feel very proud of what we’ve achieved. It’s great news for our school and a big boost for reading.’
Teams from Priory, Springfield and Admiral Lord Nelson schools were awarded for coming first in individual rounds.
Hannah Gough, 11, from Charter Academy, whose team was narrowly defeated in one of the rounds, said: ‘It was so much fun and quite nervewracking.
‘At times we did shout a bit but overall we were really pleased with how well we did. I’d do it again.’
Competition runners-up were a second team from St Edmund’s and in third place were City of Portsmouth Girls’ School.
Clara Robinson, of City Girls, said: ‘I didn’t expect to do so well and it’s an honour to be taking part in such an amazing event with terrific authors.’
Miriam Halahmy, whose novel Hidden has been short-listed for this year’s Portsmouth Book Award, said: ‘It was absolutely wonderful – the children know so much about our books and backgrounds.
‘Portsmouth is doing a brilliant job raising the profile of reading.’
Ali Sparkes, who is a frequent visitor to Portsmouth schools, said: ‘Portsmouth’s quiz is undoubtedly the best – the turnout and enthusiasm is incredible.’
Peter Bone, manager of the council’s school library service, which organised the event, added: ‘The children were brilliant and it was a particularly impressive performance from St Edmund’s.’
All pupils received certificates signed by the authors and the winners were given tokens for the Hayling Island Bookshop.