Northern Ireland

Enniskillen bookworms reach Singapore quiz final

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Media captionEnniskillen Royal Grammar School pupils in literature contest

Four pupils from Enniskillen Royal Grammar School have been reading their way through a big pile of books.

They have spent almost every lunchtime in their school library, preparing to represent the UK at a competition in Singapore that will test their knowledge of literature.

When asked how many books they have read, they shrug their shoulders.

"I've no idea - 20? 25?" said one.

"Probably 25-ish," said another.

Image caption Darcey Crawford said the books ranged from Lord of the Rings to Spot the Dog

"I actually don't think that I want to know," Darcey Crawford replied.

"We've read probably upward of 50 books in preparation for the quiz and all together all four of us probably upwards of 150."

They have been turning the pages to prepare for the Kids' Lit Quiz, a competition that aims to encourage and reward reading for students aged 10 to 13.

"It's all based on kids literature things like from the Gruffalo to Harry Potter, and from Lord of the Rings to Spot the Dog so it's a very wide range competition," Darcey Crawford explained.

Heather McCaffrey said they didn't have "great expectations" for progressing far in the competition.

"I've always liked reading so I was really looking forward to it, but we weren't expecting anything," she said.

The team surprised themselves with how well they have done, beginning at the regional heat in Belfast.

"The Northern Ireland one, we weren't worried at all because we didn't think we were going to get through," revealed Daragh Tyson.

"We treated it as just a trip out of class but whenever we won we started taking it a lot more seriously."

They then progressed to the national final in London where Hugo McChesney said, "our aim wasn't to come last, we just wanted to come second last."

Image caption The four Enniskillen Royal Grammar School pupils have read upwards of 150 books between them

"And then we won it and we were so surprised, it didn't seem real and now we're going to Singapore."

The school librarian, Eileen Bleakley, has helped the pupils to prepare for the world finals.

"They've had to do an awful lot of practice, practice questions, practice with the buzzer and read an awful lot," she said.

"They're very humble in that they've read an awful lot more books than they're claiming to have read."

Image caption School librarian Eileen Bleakley helped coach the children on their path to success

Soon they will be boarding a plane to Singapore, and meeting the teams from 11 other countries who all share a love of literature.

It is an experience they are all looking forward to.

"I'm really looking forward to the competition to see what the teams, how good they are and how well we can cope with it," Daragh Tyson said.

"I'm really looking forward to meeting the different people from the different countries," added Darcey Crawford.


As well as taking part in the competition the pupils will also be able to explore the city.

"We're doing a river safari and I'm looking forward to that," said Heather McCaffrey.

Hugo McChesney said he wanted to see Marina Sands and the Gardens by the Bay as well as a trip to Universal Studios.

For these pupils the world of books has opened up a world of adventures.

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