Culture vulture

19th May 2006 at 01:00
Lyn Hopson has a lot of time for the wives of Henry VIII

Films I love

I like historical epics: Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, Gladiator. My favourite film is Anne of the Thousand Days, with Richard Burton and Genevieve Bujold.

It's about Anne Boleyn, my favourite historical character. I like that bloodthirsty period: all the scheming and jostling for position. Women had a hard time, so they had to live on their wits.

Books I love

I'm reading The Constant Wife by Philippa Gregory. It's about Catherine of Aragon: that period again. I like her others: The Queen's Fool and The Other Boleyn Girl. I like comedy: Zane Radcliffe's Big Jessie, which is set in Northern Ireland where I come from; and Christopher Brookmyre's books about Jack Parlabane, the investigative journalist. The language is a bit choice, but they're enjoyable.

Inspiring

Doncaster secondary schools have always followed the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals, but these are prizes controlled by adults. So we set up our own children's fiction award, putting the kids in charge. We've just made our second award: to Nudie Dudie by Michael Lawrence. We involved 20 primary schools this year, as well as 12 secondaries: it was the primary pupils who really went for that book. We take our longlist from the 25 most borrowed children's library books in the past year. The children read them and vote.

To use in school

We run drama workshops for the book award. Our feeder primary schools worked on Tiger Tiger, by Lynne Reid Banks. They created such an atmosphere: playing in the jungle as tiger cubs, then the Roman soldiers coming closer and closer, about to abduct them. Some of the younger children were intimidated by the idea of reading that book; drama got them totally into it.

Treat in store

The film of The Da Vinci Code. I did enjoy the book, though I know it's rubbish.

Lyn Hopson, 45, is librarian at Don Valley school and performing arts college in Doncaster. She chairs the Doncaster Children's Book Award (www.doncasterbook award.net). Interview by Karen Gold

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