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Michael Morpurgo


UK (1943 - )

Michael Morpurgo, author of more than fifty books, has an unparalleled reputation in the world of children's books. 'Wombat Goes Walkabout' (Collins) was shortlisted for the 1999 Whitbread Awards. 'The Butterfly Lion' (Collins) won the 1996 Smarties Book Prize and the Writers' Guild Children's Book Award 1996. It was shortlisted for the Young Telegraph / Fully Booked Children's Paperback of the Year Award 1996 and The Children's Book Award 1996. 'The Dancing Bear' (Collins) was shortlisted for the Writers Guild Children's Book Award 1994 and the Young Telegraph Children's Paperback of the Year Award 1994. He won the 1995 Whitbread Children's Book Award for 'Wreck Of The Zanzibar' (Reed).

Michael Morpurgo is, in his own words, "oldish, married with three children, and a grandfather six times over." He hasn't always been like that, though. When he was young he went to school in London, Sussex and Canterbury (one at least of which was horrible enough to inspire him to describe obliquely in 'The Butterfly Lion' ). After school he went on to university in London, followed by a step in the teaching profession and a job in a primary school in Kent.

Twenty five years ago Michael Morpurgo and his wife, Clare, started the charity Farms For City Children. They now have three farms - Nethercott in Devon, Treginnis in Wales and Wick in Gloucestershire, where children from towns and cities could come and be farmers. "As a teacher I realised many children had little real contact with the world around them - to them the television was real. I wanted them to experience life at first hand." Michael's first picture book for Collins, 'Sam's Duck', is about the first farm and is a touching story about the magic and harsh realities of rural life. The book, beautifully illustrated by the highly regarded and exceptionally talented artist Keith Bowen, was described by the Sunday Times as 'a classic as soon as it came off the presses.'

Living in Devon, listening to Mozart, and working with children have provided most of the stimulae Michael needs to discover and write his stories. He spends about half his life mucking out sheds with the children, feeding sheep or milking cows; the other half he spends dreaming up and writing stories. "For me, the greater part of writing is daydreaming, dreaming the dream of my story until it hatches out - the writing down of it I always find hard. But I love finishing it, then holding the book in my hand and sharing my dream with my readers."

Michael hopes to continue writing fresh stories, as well as staying healthy, keeping his family happy, and developing 'Farms For City Children' so that thousands more children can benefit.
 
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Michael Morpurgo recommends
The Closing March
The Closing March (1997)
Lynne Markham
"A cornet call of hope. A book that chokes you throughout, and not just on coal dust."

A Little Piece of Ground (2003)
Elizabeth Laird
"A Little Piece of Ground is an exciting, enlightening and important story that brings to life the reality of events reported daily in the news, and will help young readers understand more about one of the worst conflicts affecting our world today. A fine book, and a daring book."

Against the Tide (2005)
(Against the Tide)
Theresa Tomlinson
"Utterly absorbing."

Montmorency's Revenge (2006)
(Montmorency, book 4)
Eleanor Updale
"Thrills from first page to last."

Dog Lost (2008)
Ingrid Lee
"A tough book, a tender book, and one I shan't forget."

My Name is Mina (2010)
(Skellig)
David Almond
"David Almond is a fine writer, one of the very finest we have. He is simply incapable of writing a bad sentence."

Wild Wings (2011)
Gill Lewis
"Here's a rare thing, a novel, and a first novel too, that opens your eyes, touches your heart, and is so engaging it almost turns the pages for you."

Life, Above All (2011)
Allan Stratton
"An extraordinary literary achievement."

An Inventory of Heaven (2012)
Jane Feaver
"Jane Feaver is a supremely compelling chronicler of rural isolation."

Loyal Creatures (2014)
Morris Gleitzman
"One of the very best novels I have read."



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