Get Michael Morpurgo essential facts below. View Videos or join the Michael Morpurgo discussion. Add Michael Morpurgo to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Sir Michael Andrew Bridge Morpurgo, OBE,DL,FRSL,FKC (born Michael Andrew Bridge; 5 October 1943) is an English book author, poet, playwright, and librettist who is known best for children's novels such as War Horse (1982). His work is noted for its "magical storytelling", for recurring themes such as the triumph of an outsider or survival, for characters' relationships with nature, and for vivid settings such as the Cornish coast or World War I. Morpurgo became the third Children's Laureate, from 2003 to 2005.
Morpurgo was born in 1943 as Michael Andrew Bridge; his biological father was actor Tony Van Bridge. His mother, Kippe Cammaerts (otherwise Catherine Noel Kippe, daughter of Émile Cammaerts), who had been an actress, met, and later in 1963 married Jack Morpurgo (subsequently professor of American Literature at the University of Leeds from 1969-82) while Van Bridge was away during World War II.
Morpurgo did not learn who his biological father was until he was 19 years old, while watching the 1962 film version of Great Expectations, with his mother, in which Tony Van Bridge appeared.
Hughes and another poet, Seán Rafferty, were influential in his career, with Hughes becoming a friend, mentor and neighbour. It was not until he was teaching in Kent that Morpurgo discovered his vocation in life, of which he later said "I could see there was magic in it for them, and realized there was magic in it for me."
Farms for city children
Morpurgo married Clare, eldest daughter of Sir Allen Lane, the founder of Penguin Books. In 1976 Michael and Clare established the charity Farms for City Children, with the primary aim of providing children from inner city areas with experience of the countryside. The programme involves the children spending a week at a countryside farm, during which they take part in purposeful farmyard work.
About 85,000 children have taken part in the scheme since it was set up, and the charity now has three farms in Devon, Gloucestershire and Wales.
Gentle Giant was presented as an opera by composer Stephen McNeff and librettist Mike Kenny at the Royal Opera House in 2006. Film versions have been made of Friend or Foe (1981), Private Peaceful (2012) and Why the Whales Came (1989), the latter also being adapted to a stage play. My Friend Walter (1988) 'Purple Penguins' (2000) and Out of the Ashes (2001) have been adapted for television.
Composer Stephen Barlow created a musical adaptation of Rainbow Bear, narrated by his wife Joanna Lumley. This was subsequently presented as a ballet by the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain in August 2010.
In a January 2014 article, Morpurgo stated "as we begin to mark the centenary of the first world war, we should honour those who died, most certainly, and gratefully too, but we should never glorify... Come each November over the next four years, let the red poppy and the white poppy be worn together to honour those who died, to keep our faith with them, to make of this world a place where freedom and peace can reign together."
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2013)
Reading Matters website calls Morpurgo's 1999 Kensuke's Kingdom "A quietly told story, but plenty of drama and emotion."The Guardian describes Private Peaceful, his 2003 novel for older children, as a "humanising and humane work".
2017 Red House Children's Book Award: An Eagle in the Snow
In 2009 Morpurgo donated the short story "Look At Me, I Need a Smile" to Oxfam's Ox-Tales project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Morpurgo's story was published in the "Water" collection.
In a statistical overview derived from writings by and about Morpurgo, OCLC/WorldCat encompasses roughly 300+ works in 1,000+ publications in 25 languages and 55,000+ library holdings.
It Never Rained: Five Stories (1974)
Living Poets (compiler with Clifford Simmons) (1974)
Long Way from Home (1975)
Thatcher Jones (1975)
The Story-Teller (compiler with Graham Barrett) (1976)