MICHAEL MORPURGO (1943 – )
When born: In 1943, two years before the end of the Second World War.
Where born: In St Albans in Hertfordshire quite near London, England, but like lots of children in London during the war, he was sent with his brother to stay with a distant relative in Cumberland in the far north of England until the war was over.
School days: Michael Morpurgo went to schools in London, Sussex and Canterbury but wasn’t happy at school. In fact one of his teachers reported that he was ” rather stupid but great at rugby“! His bad experiences at one school inspired one of his most famous books The Butterfly Lion.
Why and when he began writing: Michael Morpurgo worked as a school teacher for many years, and at one school he had to read a story to his class from 3pm to 3.30pm every day. One day he realised that the kids were bored with the story he was reading, so he went home and told his wife, who was also a teacher, and she suggested that the next day he should just tell a story off the top of his head. He did, and the kids just loved it, so he did this every day. Then the principal of his school dropped in to listen, and at the end of the session asked him to write down his stories so that she could send them to a friend at the famous publishing house Macmillans. Macmillans loved his stories and decided to publish them, and his career as a children’s author began!
Why I love Michael Morpurgo’s books: I love his books because they are always exciting with wonderful settings, and especially because they are truly uplifting stories about very believable people and their inner goodness and strength, even in the most terrible times.
Michael Morpurgo is a very kind man who with his wife has set up and run a wonderful charity called Farms for City Children which enables poor inner city kids to go and stay on a farm for a week to learn about country life.
He has written over 100 books and many of these have won major prizes.
He likes to write in bed, and always writes his stories out by hand first before they are typed up on the computer!
“Look around you, listen, learn, record, dream it out, weave it and write only when you’re ready, when the story wants to hatch itself out. Write fast, let it flow.”
Michael Morpurgo’s official website has some terrific film footage where he speaks all about how he began writing and answers his most frequently-asked questions. http://www.michaelmorpurgo.com/ It also has some quizzes and games and lots of information about his books!