Community / Press Release

Royal West Academy captures Battle of the Books

rwa winners
Montreal - Friday, April 14, 2023

“We read the books.” That was team captain Emma Birlean’s succinct summary of the reason for Royal West Academy’s commanding victory in the English Montreal School Board’s annual Battle of the Books – the first in-person presentation of this event in four years.

Students from four high schools faced off in a head-to-head battle of their knowledge of 12 young adult books which they read over the course of the school year. The competition was organized by librarians at the schools and EMSB Educational Services

Royal West Academy in Montreal West racked up 105 points in the final competition at the EMSB head office, Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North was second with 80 points, followed by Westmount High School with 74 and Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Leonard with 72. 

The winners will represent the EMSB in the “Ultimate Battle” on Wednesday, April 26, at the Lester B. Pearson School Board head office (1925 Brookdale Ave.) in Dorval. There, the winning EMSB team will compete for the city-wide title against the winning teams from the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) and the Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS).

EMSB librarians noted that Battle of the Books allows students to explore a variety of literary genres while simultaneously developing teamwork skills. Launched at the LBPSB in 2013, the Battle has grown steadily each year to include an increasing number of schools across the city. 

“We got together during the year to prepare for this,” said Ms. Birlean. “It was difficult to get the whole team together because we’re all involved in other extracurricular activities but we all contributed to the win.” 

The other members of the winning team are Nate Rothman, Mia Feng, Kai Yip, Sophie Steiner, Abby Inx, Chloe Romero Demi and Annabelle Hillier.  

Among the special guests as question readers were CJAD radio host and LaurenHill Academy grad Elias Makos and children’s author Mitali Ruths. Organizers wish to thank CBC Canada Reads, Drawn & Quarterly, Livres Babar, Librairie Paragraphe, and Crossover Comics for supporting this event.  

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 73 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at

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