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Michael Morpurgo - Author

About the Author

Michael Morpurgo, began writing stories in the early '70's, in response to the children in his class at the primary school where he taught in Kent.  One of the UK’s best-loved authors and storytellers, Michael was appointed Children’s Laureate in 2003, a post he helped to set up with Ted Hughes in 1999. He was awarded an OBE in 2007 and a Knighthood in the New Year’s Honours in 2018 for services to literature and charity. He has written over 150 books, including The Butterfly Lion, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Why the Whales Came, The Mozart Question, Shadow, and War Horse, which was adapted for a hugely successful stage production by the National Theatre and then, in 2011, for a film directed by Steven Spielberg. The most recent film adaptation of his books is Waiting for Anya directed by Ben Cookson. He has won numerous awards including those voted for by children themselves, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Children’s Book Award. His latest book is Boy Giant published by Harper Collins Children’s Books and Owl or Pussycat illustrated by Polly Dunbar and published by David Fickling Books.

A son and grandson of actors, Michael has acting in his blood and enjoys collaborating and performing live adaptations of his books at festivals, concerts and theatres.

Michael's books have been translated into many languages including Chinese, Bulgarian and Hungarian, Hebrew and Japanese. He travels all over the UK and abroad talking to people of all ages at literary festivals, telling his stories and encouraging them to tell theirs. 

With his wife Clare, he set up the charity Farms for City Children, which offers children and teachers from inner-city primary schools the chance to live and work in the countryside for a week on one of the charity’s three farms in Devon, Gloucestershire and Wales. Over 100,000 children have visited the three farms run by the charity since it began in 1976. Teachers frequently comment that a child can learn more in a week on the farm than a year in the classroom.     

For more information about the work of Farms for City Children, please visit www.farmsforcitychildren.org

Michael Morpurgo lives in Devon with his wife Clare.

Anthony Horowitz on Michael Morpurgo:

'Michael Morpurgo is the most solid, classical of children's authors. He sits outside the series-driven blockbusters so beloved of publishers nowadays: he hasn't created a Harry Potter or an Alex Rider – and I admire him for resisting that. We are opposite sides of the same coin and, although his work has never influenced mine, I admire the eloquent, considered voice of his best books. He has an unerring moral compass – his schoolteacher past has never quite left him – and books such as War Horse and The Butterfly Lion have a strong social concience and an honesty that makes them universal.' (The Guardian)

In November 2016 Michael Morpurgo won the J M Barrie Award for his contribution to children’s literature.   This award is given every year by Action for Children’s Arts to a “children’s arts practitioner” whose lifetime’s work has delighted children and will stand the test of time.

David Wood, chair of Action for Children’s Arts, said Morpurgo is “one of our greatest storytellers”.
“Michael Morpurgo has thrilled and delighted huge numbers of young readers since becoming a children’s author in the early 1970s," Wood said. "Action for Children’s Arts is delighted to recognise Michael’s outstanding contribution by presenting him with the J M Barrie Award 2016.  His work will undoubtedly, like Peter Pan, stand the test of time, making him a truly worthy recipient of this award."

Morpurgo added: “Storymakers and storytellers like Barrie, and like all the previous winners of this award, have given us the hope and faith children need, we need, to keep flying, have sustained us through dark and troubled times, have banished doubt. To touch the lives of children, to witness their listening and reading silence, is reward enough in itself. This is simply the icing on the cake.”

Take a peek at Michael's 10 Rules for Writing.

You can also read about his life in War Child to War Horse, a collaborative biography with Maggie Fergusson.

Featured books by Michael Morpurgo

In the Mouth of the Wolf

In the Mouth of the Wolf

7+ readers 9+ readers

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Barroux Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/05/2018

Francis and Pieter are brothers. As shadow of one war lingers, and the rumbles of another approach, the brothers argue. Francis is a fierce pacifist, while Pieter signs up to fight. What happens next will change the course of Francis's life forever . . . and throw him into the mouth of the wolf.

ebook of the month
Lucky Button

Lucky Button

9+ readers 11+ readers

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Michael Foreman Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/11/2017

A moving historical story inspired by the Foundling Museum, written by acclaimed children's author Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Michael Foreman. From award-winning master storyteller Michael Morpurgo, author of the acclaimed War Horse, comes a moving historical story inspired by the Foundling Museum. A lonely boy struggles to cope with school bullies and caring for his mother, until a mysterious encounter reveals life in the Foundling Hospital in the eighteenth century and unravels a touching tale about the power of music. Beautifully illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal-winning illustrator Michael Foreman.

ebook of the month
Coming Home

Coming Home

9+ readers

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Kerry Hyndman Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/11/2016

A plucky little robin sets out on an epic journey. Through dark forests, driving rain, clapping thunder and flashing lightning. Across frozen wastes, huge mountains and stormy seas he flies. And all the while he's dreaming of home. Of her. But will he ever get there? Find out in this wonderfully lyrical Christmas story from the brilliant Michael Morpurgo, with stunning illustrations by Kerry Hyndman.

Only Remembered

Only Remembered

13+ readers YA readers

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Ian Beck Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/10/2016

Poems, short stories, personal letters, newspaper articles, scripts, photographs and paintings are just some of the elements of this astonishing collection, with cover and artwork by renowned illustrator, Ian Beck. Among the many contributors are Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, Sir Andrew Motion, Miranda Hart, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer, Antony Beevor, Emma Thompson, David Almond, Dr Rowan Williams, Richard Curtis, Joanna Lumley, Raymond Briggs, Shami Chakrabarti and Sir Tony Robinson. Royalties from the publication will be spilt between the Royal British Legion and projects for soldiers' children and families at SSAFA.

ebook of the month
Island Tales

Island Tales

7+ readers

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/07/2013

A bind-up of War Horse author Michael Morpurgo's classic stories about the Isles of Scilly, this book collects The Wreck of the Zanzibar, and Why the Whales Came.

Other books by Michael Morpurgo

Gentle Giant

Gentle Giant

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Michael Foreman Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/05/2021

A powerful folktale about a lonely giant who lives by a beautiful lake. When he saves a girl from drowning, the giant finds the love and courage to save the lake from destruction. On a small island way out in the middle of a silver lake there once lived a sad young man. He was sad because he had grown up into a giant of a man, very big, very strong and very frightening. Because of this, no one liked to go near him. So his only friends were the wild creatures that lived all around him. Then one day, he saves a girl from drowning, a girl in a wide-brimmed straw hat. Little does he know how she is going to change his life forever. Michael Morpurgo draws on traditional storytelling to weave a tale of extraordinary relevance to our own world today. A story of compassion, and love, and a simple belief in the healing powers of nature.

A Song of Gladness A story of hope for us and our planet

A Song of Gladness A story of hope for us and our planet

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Emily Gravett Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/04/2021

Travel the globe in this beautiful, inspiring journey through the animal kingdom, which encourages children to value the natural world and their place within it. From two of today's most celebrated children's book creators. From a blackbird in a Devon garden to leopards in the African savanna, hibernating bears and chimpanzees high in the forest canopy, A Song of Gladness reminds us all of our connection with nature, and with each other, and the urgent need for us to join together in caring for the planet and every creature in it. Former Children's Laureate and CILIP Carnegie Medal winner Sir Michael Morpurgo's beautiful story is both moving and full of hope; the illustrations from twice CILIP Kate Greenaway-winning Emily Gravett are breathtaking. This gorgeous book is a classic in the making and the perfect gift for any animal and nature lover.

The Birthday Duck

The Birthday Duck

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Sam Usher Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/04/2021

The classic story of finding fun on the farm from the nation's favourite storyteller, gorgeously re-illustrated by Sam Usher. From Sir Michael Morpurgo comes a classic story of one small boy, and one very lucky duck... Sam is a city boy through and through - and isn't looking forward to his school trip to Nethercott Farm at all. But busy days of farm work, animals and learning all about nature weave their magic - and when Sam finds a duck about to be dinner, he is determined to save him. But how? This warm and magical story is gloriously brought to life by the incredible illustrative talent of Sam Usher, and is set on the real-life Nethercott Farm - a member of Farms for City Children - the charity that offers urban children from all over the country the chance to live and work together on a real farm and experience the magic of the English countryside.

Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!

Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Shoo Rayner Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/03/2021

Join the fun on the farm! A charming story from award-winning author Michael Morpurgo, hilariously illustrated throughout by Shoo Rayner, and perfect for readers of 5 and up. Two funny farmyard stories for younger readers. Mossop's Last Chance: There's mice in my barley sacks, there's rats in my roof and now there's mice in the corn bin. This time I've had enough. If you aren't up to the job, you will have to go. Mossop the old farm cat likes to sleep - and not much else! So when Farmer Rafferty tells him to catch twenty-six mice by sunset, all the animals have to pull together to give Mossop one last chance... Albertine, Goose Queen: Good morning, Madam, I've come to eat you. Your friends have all gone. There's no one to help you now. They're all very stupid, aren't they? A fox is on the loose, and all the animals except Albertine the goose have hidden themselves inside. Albertine is safe on her island in the pond - at least so she thinks, until the fox starts swimming towards her...

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