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Michael Morpurgo - Author

About the Author

Winner of J M Barrie Award 2016

March 16 was Michael Morpurgo month on Lovereading4kids - click here to view the favourites we selected on themes of Legends, Animals, War and Journeys.

Michael Morpurgo, OBE, MBE, is one of the UK’s best-loved authors and storytellers. He was appointed Children’s Laureate in May 2003, a post he helped to set up with his friend Ted Hughes in 1999. He was awarded an OBE for services to Literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007. He has written over 120 books, including Kensuke’s Kingdom which won the Children’s Book Award 2000 and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Book Award and the Carnegie Medal in 2000. His novel, Private Peaceful, a harrowing story about the First World War was published in Autumn 2003. It won the 2004 Red House Children’s Book Award and the Blue Peter Book Award in 2005. His novel Shadow about a boy from Afghanistan and the dog he befriends won the Red House Children’s Book Award, voted for by children.

Many of Michael’s books have been adapted for the stage. These include Private Peaceful, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Why the Whales Came and The Mozart Question, and most notably, the National Theatre’s production of War Horse which then moved to a theatre in central London. This production of Michael’s moving and powerful story of survival on the Western Front, which reached number one in the Observer’s top ten theatre performances and was also awarded the best design prize in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. This production also played in New York where it was awarded five Tony Awards. In 2012 the film adaptation of War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg, was a box office success.
Michael travels all over the UK and abroad talking to children and telling his stories and encouraging them to tell theirs.

In 1976, Michael and his wife, Clare, started the charity Farms for City Children. They help to run three farms around the country, in Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire and North Devon. Each farm offers children and teachers from urban primary schools the chance to live and work in the countryside for a week, and gain hands-on experience. 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. He has three children and seven grandchildren.

Michael Morpurgo was our Guest Editor in June 2010. Click here to see the books that inspired his writing, or scroll down to see books written by Michael.

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)

Why not CLICK HERE to take a peek at Michael’s 10 Rules for Writing.

or Click here to read a Q&A with the author.

You can also read about his life in a new biography, War Child to War Horse, to which he has contributed seven stories - click here to find out more.

Michael is the inaugural President of the Historical Writers Association starting from Autumn 2011, (www.thehwa.co.uk) It was founded to bring social and professional support to writers of historical fiction and non-fiction, publishers, agents and booksellers, all bound both by their common interest in historical books and by the sense of community that comes from a shared obsession.

Since its creation, the Historical Writers' Association has launched a Festival of Historical Writing in association with English Heritage as part of their Festival of History at Kelmarsh in Northamptonshire.

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.”

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March 2016 was Michael Morpurgo Month - a special month-long celebration of the varied and wonderful works of Michael Morpurgo as he celebrates his 70th year and also to mark the 40th anniversary of his and his wife’s Farms for City Children charity. Each week we featured a different selection of books under the themes of Journeys, War, Legends and Animals. We invited our readers to review many of the books that featured during Michael Morpurgo month - and you can download all their reviews here.

If you like Michael Morpurgo you might also like to read books by Robert Westall, Anne Fine, Sarah Lean and Celia Rees.

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

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

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 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' - Guardian Michael Morpurgo, OBE, 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.

Boy Giant Son of Gulliver

Boy Giant Son of Gulliver

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/09/2020

A stunning new story of hope, humanity and high-seas adventure for children and adults everywhere from Sir Michael Morpurgo, the nation's favourite storyteller and multi-million copy bestselling author of WAR HORSE. We were the truth of our own story. Me, and the two tiny people on my shoulder, in the middle of the sea... War has forced Omar and his mother to leave their home in Afghanistan and venture across the sea to Europe. When their boat sinks, and Omar finds himself alone, with no hope of rescue, it seems as if his story has come to an end. But it is only just beginning. Because in the end, a little hope makes a big difference... A thrilling adventure inspired by the classic story of Gulliver's Travels, this is also a gripping modern narrative of rescue and refuge, from a writer at the height of his powers. A book about breaking down walls, at a time when many are trying to build them. And a timeless reminder of humanity's infinite capacity for good... even when those humans are very small indeed.

Owl or Pussycat?

Owl or Pussycat?

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/09/2020

When he lands a starring role in the school Christmas play of The Owl and the Pussycat, Michael is over the moon. He is going to be Owl - Too-wit-too-woo! And when his best friend, Belinda, is chosen to be Cat, Michael can't believe his luck - Miaow! But will it be all right on the night? Find out in this true story of first love and first-night nerves.

Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/07/2020

Billy was a champion soccer star, playing for Chelsea in the 1930s. But that was before war broke out... Billy the Kid is told through the voice of an 80 year old man, who looks back on his life as Chelsea's champion striker until the outbreak of war in 1939 and on through his subsequent life. Billy joins Chelsea as a football apprentice, rises through the reserves to become a real champion. His passion for football sees him through the war years - even as a prisoner of war he organises a friendly against the Italians - but, having been injured by a mine he cannot play for Chelsea on his return to England. Billy turns to vagrancy and alcohol and for years he wanders up and down the country. He re-settles in London in a derelict house and is befriended by a family who move him to a shed in their garden. He, in turn, helps their son with his football who in his turn becomes a Chelsea player. Billy becomes a Chelsea Pensioner and his 80th birthday is celebrated when Chelsea play at home. A novel for both children and adults which deals with some difficult issues. Michael Morpurgo's storytelling is superb and this will be a welcome follow up to the previous Morpurgo / Foreman collaboration - Farm Boy.

The Classic Collection Volume 4

The Classic Collection Volume 4

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 17/07/2020

A further collection of the nation's favourite storyteller. FRIEND OR FOE (2cds), TORO TORO (2cds), FROM HEREABOUT HILL (4cds) and WRECK OF THE ZANZIBAR (1cd) TORO TORO and FRIEND OR FOE

The Classic Collection Volume 2

The Classic Collection Volume 2

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 17/07/2020

Three unforgettable novels have been turned into fantastic audiobooks written by the award-winning former Children's Laureate, Michael Morpurgo. Actors include Derek Jacobi, Jamie Glover and Michael Morpurgo. Kensuke's Kingdom When Michael is washed up on an island in the Pacific after falling from his parents' yacht, he struggles to survive on his own. But he soon realises there is someone close by, someone who is watching over him and helping him to stay alive. Following a close-run battle between life and death, the mysterious stranger - Kensuke - allows Michael into his world and they become friends, teaching and learning from each other, until the day of separation becomes inevitable. Private Peaceful Told in the voice of a young soldier, the story follows 24 hours in his life at the front during WW1, and captures his memories as he looks back over his life. Full of stunningly researched detail and engrossing atmosphere, the book leads to a dramatic and moving conclusion. Both a love story and a deeply moving account of the horrors of the First World War, this book will reach everyone from 9 to 90. Butterfly Lion 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.

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https://www.michaelmorpurgo.com/

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