Culture vulture

14th May 2004 at 01:00
Tina Duncumb is agog over the Bilbao Guggenheim

Best book ever

I've been in a reading group for 14 years. A few years ago we read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and I was bowled over. It's set in the Belgian Congo and told in the voices of the four daughters of a zealous Baptist missionary. Kingsolver was a botanist and I love this story, the voices and the richness of the description, full of the flora and fauna of a place I knew nothing about.

Best film ever

Monsoon Wedding (directed by Mira Nair) because it shows modern India as it is. I visited India in 1991 and it brought back memories of people and places. I love the drama of the family life and relationships portrayed.

Favourite building

Buildings are a hobby of mine. It probably stems from my father, whose company developed properties - I remember visiting old, falling-down houses and being mesmerised by them and the lives that had gone on in them. My favourite is the Guggenheim in Bilbao (below), with its fantastic curves and surfaces. I love the way light floods in through the glass curtain walls and its titanium scales on the outside like a fish.

Inspirational event

I'm a great fan of poet Michael Rosen and I've seen him twice recently. At the Brighton Festival last May he read from his book You Wait Till I'm Older Than You! which is full of anecdotes about bringing up his children.

I read it with my own two children, aged 10 and eight, and with my pupils because they recognise so well the emotions in it. I also saw him reading from Carrying the Elephant: a memoir of love and loss, a book of poetry for adults about relationships and the death of his adult son, who died from meningitis. It was so moving and thoughtful.

Looking forward to Using Lynne Truss's book on punctuation, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, in my teaching. It's a personal quest to improve punctuation, which I share, but it's also so light-hearted and accessible.

Tina Duncumb, 47, is special needs and literacy teacher at Patcham high school, Brighton, and leading literacy teacher for Brighton and Hove. She has recently started therapeutic creative writing with special needs pupils, exploring emotions through metaphor and narrative. She was talking to Elaine Williams

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