Wayne has never known a time without books, his parents surrounded him with books as a youngster and they've been part of his life ever since. When his kids were teenagers he never observed readers at prize-givings being rewarded for their reading and it was this that provided the impetus to start a literary competition for 11-13 year olds in 1991. The idea of the quiz then was to acknowledge and motivate readers at a time when reading traditionally dipped.
Wayne built up his knowledge of kids' books while teaching and continued to develop it even after he moved into the tertiary system. Today he never reads without a pen in his hand. The idea of the Kids' Lit Quiz™ as the 'sport of reading' has grown and currently the quiz operates in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and the United States.
Wayne is passionate about kids reading for pleasure and works to ensure that readers are challenged to read widely across a range of literature.
In March 2008 he was awarded the New Zealand Margaret Mahy Medal for his substantial and distinguished contribution to literature and literacy and in 2011 he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for meritorious service to his country.
Wayne is a former senior lecturer at the University of Auckland in the Faculty of Education.