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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 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 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 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 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 Puffin Keeper

The Puffin Keeper

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/11/2020

It was Benjamin Postlethwaite's job all his long life to make sure the light shone brightly high up in the lighthouse on Puffin Island. Not once in all his years as the lighthouse keeper had he ever let his light go out. But sometimes even the brightest light on a lighthouse cannot save a ship. This is a story of a life-changing friendship, a lost puffin, and a lonely artist. It's the story of an entire lifetime, and how one event can change a life forever. From masterful storyteller, Michael Morpurgo, and world-class illustrator, Benji Davies, comes a magical new story. This truly beautiful tale will enchant readers of all ages.

Grandpa Christmas

Grandpa Christmas

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/10/2020

This bestselling Christmas picture book by renowned children's author Michael Morpurgo and illustrator Jim Field, is now available in paperback for the first time. Michael Morpurgo frames his powerful message about protecting the environment in this beautiful personal story about a grandpa's wish for his granddaughter to live in a better world. This vital and timely story is paired with Jim Field's emotive illustrations in this gorgeous Christmas picture book, perfect for the whole family to share. Dearest little Mia, This Christmas, instead of a Christmas card - you'll have plenty of those - and instead of a present - you'll have plenty of those too, I am sending you a letter ... Every Christmas Mia and her family read a letter which her Grandpa wrote to her. His letter is a warm, impassioned and heartfelt wish for a better world for Mia to live in. He remembers fondly the times they spent in his garden finding frogs and worms and planting seeds. But Grandpa worries that all the things they love so much are in danger ... His letter is a hopeful plea to Mia (and to all of us) to continue to care for and protect our precious world. Michael Morpurgo is a master storyteller who has written over one hundred books and won countless awards. In 1976 Michael and his wife Clare started the charity Farms For City Children, which aims to relieve the poverty of experience of young children from inner city and urban areas. In 1999 they were awarded the MBE for their work in creating these farms and in 2006 Michael received an OBE. His novel War Horse has been adapted into a hugely successful and critically acclaimed West End play as well as a film adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg. Michael is a tireless champion for children's books and was formerly the Children's Laureate. Jim Field is an award-winning illustrator, character designer and animation director. He is perhaps best known for drawings frogs on logs in the bestselling picture book series Oi Frog! He has illustrated children's books with Kes Grey, Michelle Robinson, Rachel Bright, Jeanne Willis, Steve Cole and comedian David Baddiel. His first picture book Cats Ahoy won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and he has been nominated for several other awards including the Kate Greenaway Award and the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award. In 2016, The Bookseller listed Jim as the 6th top selling illustrator. Jim grew up in Farborough and now lives in Paris with his wife and daughter.

War Horse picture book

War Horse picture book

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2020

MAJOR PUBLISHING EVENT: MICHAEL MORPURGO'S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED WAR HORSE ADAPTED FOR A PICTURE BOOK AUDIENCE! Master storyteller Michael Morpurgo has adapted his much-loved novel, War Horse, for a picture book audience. This powerful book for younger readers tells the enduring story of a friendship between a boy and his horse and is a gateway to help children understand the history and deadly chaos of the First World War. As we move beyond centenary commemorations and continue to strive for peace across the world, War Horse remains an important book for generations to come. Review for the novel: War Horse is a story of universal suffering for a universal audience by a writer who 'has the happy knack of speaking to both child and adult readers' - The Guardian Michael Morpurgo has written more than one hundred books for children and won the Whitbread Award, the Smarties Award, the Circle of Gold Award, the Children's Book Award and has been short-listed for the Carnegie Medal four times.

The Blue Nib Literary Magazine Issue 43 Issue 43

The Blue Nib Literary Magazine Issue 43 Issue 43

Author: Michael Morpurgo, George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/09/2020

War Stories

War Stories

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/03/2020

Specially commissioned by Michael Morpurgo to mark the 60th anniversary of VE day, this deeply moving collection features stories of war from the most well-loved voices in children's literature, including Michelle Magorian, Celia Rees, George Layton, Robert Westall, Joan Aiken, Eva Ibbotson, Geraldine McCaughrean and other top children's authors. From World War II to the Crusades, 1970s Beirut to the modern-day Middle East, these vivid stories explore wars throughout history. They examine not only the immediate consequences of war, but also what happens after the fighting is over. Waiting for Peace: War Stories was originally published as War: Stories of Conflict.

Toto The Wizard of Oz as Told by the Dog

Toto The Wizard of Oz as Told by the Dog

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/02/2020

From master storyteller MICHAEL MORPURGO, and illustrated by the award-winning EMMA CHICHESTER CLARK, comes a surprising, charming and uplifting twist on The Wizard of Oz, told by a very special and unforgettable character: Dorothy's pet dog, Toto. A perfect, collectible gift for all children (and children at heart). I was there, Papa Toto said, and those magic words sent shivers down my spine. It was going to be the Wizard story. Dorothy and me were both there. We were all silent, snuggled up together, waiting, waiting. Then Papa Toto began... When a twister descends on their Kansas farm, Toto and his owner Dorothy hide in the house - only to be plucked into the air and whisked away! Coming down with a crash in the mysterious land of Oz, the pair meet a series of extraordinary characters: a scarecrow who believes he has no brains, a tin man without a heart, and a cowardly lion who may not be as cowardly as he thinks he is. But Toto and Dorothy are desperate to return home - after all, home is home, and home is best! So they set off with their new friends on a journey down the yellow brick road to find the only person who might be able to help them: the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But what they find might surprise them. And on the way, all of them will learn that what they think they are missing might have been there, all along... Beautifully illustrated throughout, this is an unforgettable telling of a classic story, and a must for every bookshelf.

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