Michael Morpurgo

Children's Laureate 2005-03

Michael Morpurgo is an award-winning writer who believes in 'literature over literacy' and has written scores of imaginative and suspenseful books for children.

The award-winning children's writer Michael Morpurgo worked as a teacher for ten years before leaving to set up Farms for City Children with his wife Clare. (They were both awarded the MBE for services to youth in 1999.)

They now have three farms in Devon, Wales and Gloucestershire, which are open to inner city school children.

Michael is also the author of many books for children, including The Wreck of the Zanzibar, which won the Whitbread Children's Book Award (1995), The Butterfly Lion, which won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (Gold Award, 1996), Kensuke's Kingdom, which won the Children's Book Award (2000) and Private Peaceful, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children's Book Award (2004) and Carnegie Medal (2004).

Michael is also a three-times winner of the Prix Sorcière (France) for King of the Cloud Forests (1993), Wombat Goes Walkabout (1999) and Kensuke's Kingdom (2001) and has twice won the Red House Children's Book Award for Kensuke's Kingdom (2000) and Private Peaceful (2004).

Five of his books have been made into films and My Friend Walter and Out of the Ashes were both adapted for television.

Michael Morpurgo also writes his own screenplays and libretti for opera.

In 2003, Michael Morpurgo became the third Children's Laureate, a scheme he helped to establish with the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes to reward a lifetime contribution to children's literature and highlight the importance of the role of children's books.

War Horse was "discovered" by National Theatre associate director Tom Morris during Michael Morpurgo’s laureateship. The book subsequently became a Broadway and a film by Steven Spielberg. 

Goals as Waterstones Children's Laureate

As Children's Laureate, Michael was keen to assert that 'literature comes before literacy' and encourage all children:

' ... to discover and rediscover the secret pleasure that is reading, and to begin to find their voice in their own writing'. 

Some books by Michael Morpurgo

War Horse

War Horse

Michael Morpurgo, Illustrator: Francois Place

Steven Spielberg enjoyed this story so much, he turned into a film. Joey is a young farm horse, sold to the army at the beginning of the First World War. Through his eyes, the reader experiences the devastation of the Western Front, his capture by Germans and  entrapment in No Man's Land.

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Kensuke's Kingdom

Kensuke's Kingdom

Michael Morpurgo, Illustrator: Michael Foreman

This is a beautifully written tale of an exceptional friendship which survives beyond the boundaries of culture and language.

Read more about Kensuke's Kingdom

Private Peaceful

Private Peaceful

Michael Morpurgo

Set during World War I, Private Peaceful charts eight hours in the life of Tommo, a young soldier at the Front.

Read more about Private Peaceful

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