Michael Morpurgo is a very famous children’s author who hails from St. Albans in Hertfordshire, UK. Celebrated as a Children’s Laureate during the period 2003-2005, Michael has to his credit several books including The Wreck of Zanzibar, The Butterfly Lion, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Private Peaceful, King of The Cloud Forests, and the very popular War Horse.
Born in 1943 on 5th October, Michael Morpurgo chose to become a primary school teacher after graduating from the University and worked at Kent. But soon he ventured into writing and also decided to invest in a children’s project along with his wife.
Michael, along with his wife Clare, started the Farms for City Children project. It was intended to offer an opportunity for city children to experience the benefits of being outdoors in the countryside and to gain the experience of working in a farm! The project enjoyed much success and he and his wife were awarded the MBE for services to youth. Inspired by the success, he now has three such farms; in Wales, Devon, and Gloucestershire.
In spite of being a great writer, one thing he despises is the process of editing and then rewriting! That must be tough, considering that it is something he has to do more often than he would like too. Probably that is the reason he relies on the sound of the story when read aloud when it comes to his first round of editing!
Michael Morpurgo loves to listen to Mozart; but if there is something he loves the most when writing, it is silence! And unlike most writers who need a desk, Michael loves to prop himself up on his bed with a lot of pillows for company and comfort.
While a lot of children, and adults, love his books; he loves to read the works of Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Ted Hughes. An avid TV fan, he also loves to watch documentaries. And in the same line, some of his other favorites include elephants when it comes to animals and prawns when it comes to a good meal!
One of the most celebrated children’s writers, in present times, Michael Morpurgo has quite a big family of his own comprising his three children – Sebastian, Horatio, and Rosalind; not to mention the many grandchildren through them.
With over 100 books to his credit, the book that enjoyed the honor of becoming his 100th title was ‘Private Peaceful’. Published in 2004, this title also won him several awards including the Red House Children’s Book Award in 2004; the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award and the Hampshire Book Award in 2005; and the California Young Reader Medal in 2008. It was also shortlisted for two awards – the Carnegie Medal in 2003 and the Whitbread Children’s Book Award in 2004.
Michael believes in getting ideas from anywhere and everywhere; therefore, his philosophy is to live a varied and interesting life. Most of his books have had an image or a picture as their basic inspiration. He also believes in allowing the story to build up and flow as he writes. Now, we know the secret behind his beautiful stories!
Steven Spielberg was so impressed with Michael’s ‘War Horse’ that he decided to make it into a movie. Not surprising, considering that it continues to enjoy the credit of being the biggest selling production at the New London Theatre and was also made into a production in Broadway!
For Michael, Clare was not just his life and business partner but also his sounding board. He always walks the story idea with her before he decides to put it down on paper.