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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

Penguin Readers Level 2: The Puffin Keeper (ELT Graded Reader)

Penguin Readers Level 2: The Puffin Keeper (ELT Graded Reader)

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2022

Penguin Readers is an ELT graded reader series for learners of English as a foreign language. With carefully adapted text, new illustrations and language learning exercises, the print edition also includes instructions to access supporting material online. Titles include popular classics, exciting contemporary fiction, and thought-provoking non-fiction, introducing language learners to bestselling authors and compelling content. The eight levels of Penguin Readers follow the Common European Framework of Reference for language learning (CEFR). Exercises at the back of each Reader help language learners to practise grammar, vocabulary, and key exam skills. Before, during and after-reading questions test readers' story comprehension and develop vocabulary. The Puffin Keeper, a Level 2 Reader, is A1+ in the CEFR framework. Sentences contain a maximum of two clauses, introducing the future tenses will and going to, present continuous for future meaning, and comparatives and superlatives. It is well supported by illustrations, which appear on most pages. Visit the Penguin Readers website Exclusively with the print edition, readers can unlock online resources including a digital book, audio edition, lesson plans and answer keys. Five-year-old Allen Williams arrives on Puffin Island and meets an old man, Benjamin Postlewaite. Ben is the lighthouse keeper, and Allen is soon friends with him. Allen travels back to the island many years later and finds Ben is keeping a puffin. Allen helps Ben to change from lighthouse keeper to puffin keeper.

Oxford Reading Tree TreeTops Greatest Stories: Oxford Level 13: Peter and the Wolf

Oxford Reading Tree TreeTops Greatest Stories: Oxford Level 13: Peter and the Wolf

Author: Michael Morpurgo, Sergei Prokofiev Illustrator: Joanna Carey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/03/2022

Peter knows he shouldn't go out of the house alone: his grandfather has told him of the dangers. But children are curious, and don't always do what they are told. Along with his friends the duck, the bird and the cat, Peter ventures out into the snow and encounters a terrifying wolf. He'll need all his courage and brains to make it back in one piece. With haunting illustrations and an explanation of its musical origins, this story will captivate its readers. TreeTops Greatest Stories offers children some of the worlds best-loved tales in a collection of timeless classics. Top children's authors and talented illustrators work together to bring to life our literary heritage for a new generation, engaging and delighting children. The books are carefully levelled, making it easy to match every child to the right book. Each book contains inside cover notes to help children explore the content, supporting their reading development. Teaching notes on Oxford Owl offer cross-curricular links and activities to support guided reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Mr Skip

Mr Skip

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/03/2022

Believing in magic makes dreams come true... Jackie dreams of having a horse of her own, one that'll be the fastest on the estate, the fastest in all Ireland and the fastest in the world. Mum dreams of a little cottage in the country for her and Jackie to live in. What they get is a garden gnome that Jackie finds in a rubbish skip; one she lovingly repairs and paints; a gnome she calls Mr Skip. And Jackie soon discovers that with Mr Skip, anything is possible.

Jemima the Pig and the 127 Acorns

Jemima the Pig and the 127 Acorns

Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Guy Parker-Rees Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/02/2022

From Michael Morpurgo, co-founder of the charity Farms for City Children, this charming story for early readers evokes the wonder, muck and magic of a week on the farm. The first of many Farm Tales to come, it is a window onto the countryside, and the way its landscape and animals can leave an impression on a child's heart forever. 'You're farmers for a week, so you'll be busy. There'll be no time to miss home. You'll eat like kings and queens, sleep like logs, and you'll hardly be out of your wellies, except in bed.' When a young boy goes from the city to stay on the farm, he discovers a world he never knew existed - a world of vegetable gardens, ducks and geese, where the sheep graze in the fields, where apples and pears grow in the orchard. He also meets Jemima the pig: she smells and she slobbers, she breaks out of her pen to steal potatoes, and she's the undisputed queen of the farm. Soon, he's hiding acorns in his pockets to feed to her every time he sees her. But then, Jemima starts to feel ill. Could she have eaten too many acorns? Or does this queen of a pig have a secret...?

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