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Margaret Mahy Medal for KLQ quizmaster

Wayne MIllsUniversity of Auckland education lecturer Wayne Mills, initiator of children's literature quizzes in New Zealand and internationally, is the winner of the 2008 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award.

The award recognises Wayne Mills' achievement in establishing the popular Kids' Lit Quiz held annually in New Zealand and in 2003 expanding this to an international event.  

"Wayne Mills is widely regarded as one of New Zealand's foremost authorities on children's and young adult books," says Dr Libby Limbrick, chair of the Storylines Trust and Head of the School of Arts, Languages and Literacies at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland.  "He has made an outstanding contribution to children's literacy both in New Zealand and in countries participating in the Kids' Lit Quiz, inspiring young readers, their parents and teachers." 

From the first event featuring 14 teams held in Waikato in 1991, the quizzes have grown to 423 teams from 244 schools competing around New Zealand.

"The quiz is about rewarding kids who love reading and who are good at it," says Wayne Mills. "For decades in schools we've recognised achievement in other arenas - through science fairs for example and, above all, in sport. There was nothing for our passionate young readers. The competitive side to the quiz is a real draw and I believe it is specifically benefiting boys as a result."

Inviting teams of four 11-13 year olds to answer wide-ranging questions about children's books, the quizzes have become popular events in school calendars. Students ‘train' by reading widely to build up knowledge. Regional winners compete in Auckland each June at the annual Storylines Festival of New Zealand Children's Writers and illustrators to become the representative New Zealand team. 

Four countries, New Zealand, China, South Africa and Britain, competed for the World Final, initially in Auckland and in 2007 in Oxford, UK.  The British Government, local bodies, publishers, private companies and top author Philip Pullman were among those supporting the event. The 2008 final will again be held in Oxford.  

Napier-born Wayne Mills trained at Ardmore Teachers College and spent 16 years teaching in Hawkes Bay and Waikato before becoming a lecturer at Waikato University in 1989. He is currently a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland School of Arts, Languages and Literacies, and a popular speaker around New Zealand.

His advocacy for children's books and reading over 25 years has included chairing roles on the Hawkes Bay Children's Literature Association, and the nation-wide Children Books Foundation, now the Storylines Children's Literature Trust.  

The Margaret Mahy Medal will be presented to Wayne at the Storylines Children's Literature Trust's annual Margaret Mahy Day in Auckland on Saturday, March 29, 2008. 

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