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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

Toto The Wizard of Oz as Told by the Dog

Toto The Wizard of Oz as Told by the Dog

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Emma Chichester Clark Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/10/2022

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.

Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever

Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever

Author: Michael Morpurgo, the National Railway Museum, York Illustrator: Michael Foreman Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2022

An inspiring tale from Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman celebrating the world's most iconic train, Flying Scotsman, and its greatest fan, a young girl named Iris. Iris knows everything there is to know about Flying Scotsman. Her dad is the famous train's driver, and nothing makes her prouder than seeing him at work. But each time Flying Scotsman pulls away, Iris wishes more than anything that she could be with her dad in the driver's cab. Then again, who's to stop her... Our cheeky train-enthusiast protagonist hops aboard Flying Scotsman as it travels from London to Edinburgh, breaking the speed record for steam locomotives on its way! And when Iris grows up, she's one of the first women to work on the railways during the Second World War. But will Iris ever achieve her dream of riding in the driver's cab of the greatest train in the world, like her dad? This charming story captures the adventurous spirit of the golden age of steam travel, while paying tribute to the amazing workers who drove the trains and kept the railways running. Warmly written and joyously illustrated, this book is the ultimate celebration of the great Flying Scotsman.

Owl or Pussycat?

Owl or Pussycat?

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Polly Dunbar Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2022

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.

The Itchy Coo Book o Aesop's Fables in Scots

The Itchy Coo Book o Aesop's Fables in Scots

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Emma Chichester Clark Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/08/2022

Here are twenty-one of Aesop's best-loved fables, translated into Scots by Sanjeev Kohli, Elaine C. Smith, Kathleen Jamie, Liam McIlvanney and others. They include favourites such as The Lion and the Moose, The Dug in the Byre and The Wolf and the Shepherd's Laddie. Based on Michael Morpurgo's lively retellings, and with glowing illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark, these fables are as entertaining and full of truth today as they were when first told more than two thousand years ago. 'An honour to have Aesop coming out in Scots. He'd be pleased too!' Michael Morpurgo

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