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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

The Butterfly Lion

The Butterfly Lion

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Christian Birmingham Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/11/2021

Celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the stunning, classic story of an unforgettable friendship with a glorious colour gift edition, fully illustrated by Christian Birmingham. All my life I'll think of you, I promise I will. I won't ever forget you. Bertie rescues an orphaned white lion cub from the African veld. They are inseparable until Bertie is sent to boarding school far away in England and the lion is sold to a circus. Bertie swears that one day they will see one another again, but it is the butterfly lion which ensures that their friendship will never be forgotten. From master storyteller Michael Morpurgo, this extraordinary tale of friendship, loyalty and overcoming adversity has spoken to readers the world over since it was first published twenty-five years ago. This stunning colour gift book, with new illustrations from Christian Birmingham, will be treasured by a new generation of children.

The Snowman: A full-colour retelling of the classic

The Snowman: A full-colour retelling of the classic

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Robin Shaw Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/11/2021

A stunning new gift edition of The Snowman, re-imagined by beloved author Michael Morpurgo for a whole new generation of readers - now with beautiful full-colour illustrations. One December morning, James is thrilled to wake up to see snow falling. He spends the whole day making his perfect snowman; he has coal eyes, an old green hat and scarf and a tangerine nose... just like the snowman from his favourite story. That night, something magical happens - the Snowman comes to life! He and James take to the skies on a magical adventure where they meet someone very special. Inspired by the timeless tale, Michael Morpurgo and Robin Shaw have created the perfect story for the whole family to share together as a new Christmas tradition. Praise for The Snowman: 'In Raymond Briggs' story, a boy's dream comes true. Somehow, Michael Morpurgo makes Briggs' story come true. . . it has all the wonder of reading The Snowman for the first time.' - Colin Firth 'If anyone was going to give words to this classic, it had to be Morpurgo. A perfect book, perfect story, perfectly told.' - Angels & Urchins 'The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo not only brings a much-loved tale to a new audience, it brings with it an extra layer of festive magic. We predict this book will fast become as much a part of every family Christmas as snuggling down with a hot chocolate to catch the classic animation on TV.' - JUNIOR magazine

Carnival of the Animals

Carnival of the Animals

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

A stunning gift collection of animal poems from master storyteller Michael Morpurgo, celebrating with heart and humour the creatures with whom we share our planet. Collaborating once more with iconic artist, Michael Foreman, Morpurgo's poems are inspired by The Carnival of the Animals - a humorous musical by the French composer Camille Saint-Saens. Building on this classic framework, Michael has added many more animals - they speak in their own voices, full of humour and brio, to tell of their lives and the impact of humanity on their habitats. With full colour illustrations throughout, this celebrated partnership has created a gift book with a strong ecological message that will also ignite a love of poetry in young readers and will appeal to fans of The Lost Words. Above all it is a celebration of the natural world in verse, a book to treasure and to inspire. Michael Morpurgo has sold over 35 million books globally, many of them illustrated by Michael Foreman.

The Complete Collection of 10 Retellings

The Complete Collection of 10 Retellings

Author: Michael Morpurgo, William Shakespeare Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 14/10/2021

Sir Michael Morpurgo retells ten of Shakespeare's best-loved plays in this stunning audio collection in association with the RSC, featuring readings by members of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Michael himself. This collection includes Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Henry V, Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Translating these iconic plays into thrilling prose, the nation's favourite storyteller preserves all the imaginative genius and spark of the originals, while bringing a contemporary and vibrant voice to their retelling. The stories are revealed in a fresh, exciting and entertaining way, providing both an entry point for child readers and a fascinating dialogue with the original texts that will intrigue any Shakespeare scholar. Each tale, directed by Hal Chambers and Aaron Parsons, is introduced by Michael and includes incidental music composed by Phil James.

When Fishes Flew The Story of Elena's War

When Fishes Flew The Story of Elena's War

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/09/2021

This first new novel in two years from the Nation's Favourite Storyteller is a sweeping story of love and rescue - an unforgettable journey to the Greek island of Ithaca, and back in time to World War Two... Australian-Greek girl Nandi travels to her ancestors' home in Ithaca, and discovers - through a friendship with an extremely unusual flying fish - the extraordinary story of her great-aunt Elena; of how she fell in love, in the hardest of times, and how of how she became an unsung hero of World War Two. But Elena has gone missing, and Nandi has to find her. In her search, she will discover that Elena was an even greater hero than she thought - and still is... Nandi's story is a beautiful and inspiring tale of personal discovery, of love and place and belonging, threaded through with the quiet heroism of everyday people. Stunningly illustrated throughout by acclaimed artist George Butler, and full of magic, myth and mystery, it is a classic Morpurgo novel that will move and thrill every reader who loved Private Peaceful and War Horse, and combines all the hallmarks of this beloved Master Storyteller.

When Fishes Flew The Story of Elena's War

When Fishes Flew The Story of Elena's War

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/09/2021

This first new novel in two years from the Nation's Favourite Storyteller is a sweeping story of love and rescue - an unforgettable journey to the Greek island of Ithaca, and back in time to World War Two... Australian-Greek girl Nandi travels to her ancestors' home in Ithaca, and discovers - through a friendship with an extremely unusual flying fish - the extraordinary story of her great-aunt Elena; of how she fell in love, in the hardest of times, and how of how she became an unsung hero of World War Two. But Elena has gone missing, and Nandi has to find her. In her search, she will discover that Elena was an even greater hero than she thought - and still is... Nandi's story is a beautiful and inspiring tale of personal discovery, of love and place and belonging, threaded through with the quiet heroism of everyday people. Stunningly illustrated throughout by acclaimed artist George Butler, and full of magic, myth and mystery, it is a classic Morpurgo novel that will move and thrill every reader who loved Private Peaceful and War Horse, and combines all the hallmarks of this beloved Master Storyteller.

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