Michael Morpurgo is a well-known contemporary author who has written award-winning books such as “War Horse,” “The Lion Butterfly,” and “Private Peaceful.” He went on to become a teacher, and it was while narrating stories to youngsters that he realized he had found his true calling as a writer. He began his career as a children’s novelist, and since then, this prolific author has published numerous books that have been warmly received by both readers and critics. He was a friend of famed poet Ted Hughes, and he pursued his writing career with his supervision. The concept of a “Children’s Laureate” was created by these two writers, Hughes and Morpurgo. Michael Morpurgo was the third British author to receive the award. Morpurgo loves the countryside and wants city kids who don’t have access to it to get a taste of it. In order to attain this goal, he and his wife Clara founded the nonprofit organization ‘Farms for City Children.’ Since its inception, this charity has expanded in size, and the number of children linked with it has increased year after year. His writings and these farms continue to educate and entertain people all over the world.
Childhood and Adolescence
He was born in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, UK, on October 5, 1943, to actor-director Tony Van Bridge and actress Kippe Cammaerts. However, it took him a long time to learn about his biological father.
Due to Tony’s absence during World War II, Kippe married Jack Morpurgo, whom Michael recognized as his father and assumed as his surname.
Pieter Morpurgo is his older brother, and David Cheyne, Shona Bridge, and Peter Cheyne are his half siblings.
He acquired his schooling in a variety of locations, including Canterbury, Sussex, and London. He went to ‘The King’s School’ before enrolling in the ‘Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.’
He and his mother were watching the film ‘Great Expectations,’ starring Tony Bridge, in 1962. Michael found out about his father at this point.
Career of Michael Morpurgo
After graduating from ‘King’s College London,’ he worked as a teacher at a primary school, telling stories to his children. This story-telling practice helped him discover the secret story-teller in him, and he later became a novelist.
Ted Hughes, a poet, friend, philosopher, and guide, was one of his writing inspirations. Paul Gallico, Ernest Hemingway, and Seán Rafferty were also influences on his writing.
His debut book, ‘It Never Rained: Five Stories,’ was published in 1974. Many other novels followed, including ‘Living Poets’ (co-authored with Clifford Simmons), ‘Long Way from Home,’ ‘Thatcher Jones,’ and ‘The Story-Teller’ (compiler with Graham Barrett).
The writer and his wife Clare launched the charity ‘Farms for City Children’ in 1976. This organization aimed to introduce city kids to the beauty of rural farms while also teaching them farm work.
Since then, the organization has expanded and developed three new farms in Wales, Gloucestershire, and Devon. Every year, the number of youngsters who come to this farm grows.
Along with his tutor Ted Hughes, he was a founding member of the ‘Children’s Laureate.’
‘Friend or Foe,’ ‘Do All You Dare,’ ‘What Shall We Do with It?’, ‘All Around the Year’ (with Ted Hughes), ‘Love at First Sight,’ ‘That’s How,’ ‘The Day I Took the Bull by the Horn,’ and ‘The Ghost-Fish’ were among his many novels published between 1977 and 1979.
‘The Marble Crusher and Other Stories,’ ‘The Nine Lives of Montezuma,’ ‘Miss Wirtle’s Revenge,’ ‘The White Horse of Zennor: And Other Stories from Below the Eagle’s Nest,’ ‘War Horse,’ ‘Twist of Gold,’ ‘Little Foxes,’ ‘Why the Whales Came,’ and ‘Words of Songs,’ were among the books written by this author (libretto, music by Phyllis Tate).
‘Tom’s Sausage Lion,’ ‘Conker,’ ‘King of the Cloud Forests,’ ‘Mossop’s Last Chance,’ ‘My Friend Walter,’ ‘Albertine, Goose Queen,’ (with Shoo Rayner), ‘Mr. Nobody’s Eyes,’ ‘Jigger’s Day Off,’ (with Shoo Rayner), and ‘Waiting for Anya’ are among the novels written
‘And Pigs Might Fly!’ (with Shoo Rayner), ‘Colly’s Barn’, ‘The Sandman and the Turtles’, ‘Martians at Mudpuddle Farm’ (with Shoo Rayner), ‘The King in the Forest’, ‘The War of Jenkins’ Ear’, ‘Arthur, High King of Britain’, ‘Snakes and Ladders’, and ‘The Dancing Bear’ were among the novels he
In 1995, he published ‘Blodin the Beast,’ ‘Mum’s the Word,’ ‘Stories from Mudpuddle Farm,’ and ‘The Wreck of the Zanzibar.’
‘The Butterfly Lion,’ ‘The Ghost of Grania O’Malley,’ ‘Farm Boy,’ ‘Cockadoodle-doo, Mr Sultana!,’ ‘Escape from Shangri-La,’ ‘Joan of Arc,’ ‘Red Eyes at Night,’ ‘Wartman,’ ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom,’ ‘Wombat Goes Walkabout,’ ‘Bil
In the new millennium, he has released a number of works, including ‘Private Peaceful’, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’, ‘Alone on a Wilde, Wide Sea’, ‘Beowulf’, Running Wild’, ‘Homecoming’, ‘A Medal for Leroy’, ‘Pinocchio By Pinnchio’, Listen to the Moon’, and Mini Kid’.
This author’s picture books include ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin,’ ‘Jo-Jo the Melon Donkey,’ ‘It’s a Dog’s Life,’ ‘This Morning I Met a Whale,’ ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ ‘I Believe in Unicorns,’ ‘A Visit to the Farm,’ ‘The Orchard Book of Aesop’
University of Suffolk, Fellow of Kings College, University of London, University of Northampton, Birmingham City University, and University of Worcester have all bestowed honorary doctorates to this well-known author.
He is the President of the ‘Book Trust’ and Vice Chancellor of the ‘Children’s University.’
Major Projects of Michael Morpurgo
His best-selling children’s tale ‘War Horse,’ which tells the story of a horse named Joey and his life during World War I, is one of his award-winning and highly appreciated works. Nick Stafford translated it into a play, and Steven Spielberg turned it into a film. Both the play and the film were hugely successful.
Another well-known work by this author is “Private Peaceful,” which also deals with World War I and the futility of war. Since its release, this book has received numerous prizes and has been made into a play and a film.
Achievements and Awards
For his work ‘King of the Cloud Forests,’ he received the ‘Prix Sorcières’ prize in 1993. In the years that followed, he garnered numerous accolades, including the ‘Whitbread Children’s Book Award’ for his novel ‘The Wreck of the Zanzibar.’ His children’s novel ‘The Butterfly Lion’ won the ‘Nestlé Smarties Book Prize’ (Gold Award).
For ‘Wombat Goes Walkabout,’ he was awarded the ‘Prix Sorcières’ once more in 1999. For ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom,’ he won the ‘Red House Children’s Book Award’ the following year. He won the ‘Prix Sorcières’ prize for the third time with this novel.
In 2002, he won the ‘Nestlé Smarties Book Prize’ (Bronze Award) for his book ‘The Last Wolf,’ and two years later, he won the ‘Red House Children’s Book Award’ for ‘Private Peaceful.’
He was named the ‘Children’s Laureate’ in 2003, making him the third English author to receive this honor.
For his novel ‘Private Peaceful,’ this author received the ‘Blue Peter Book of the Year Award’ and the ‘Hampshire Book Award’ in 2005.
In 2008, he was awarded the ‘California Young Reader Medal’ for the same book.
Personal History and Legacy
Morpurgo married Clare Lane, the eldest daughter of Sir Allen Lane, in 1976. The publishing business ‘Penguin Books’ was founded by Sir Allen Lane. Horatio, Sebastian, and Rosalind are the names of the couple’s three children.
In 1999, Michael and his wife were inducted into the ‘Order of the British Empire’ for their service to the youth through their organization.
For his contributions to literature, this talented writer was named a “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” (OBE) in 2006.
‘Michael Morpurgo: War Child to War Horse,’ ‘Dear Mr Morpingo,’ ‘An Interview with Michael Morpurgo,’ and ‘All About Michael Morpurgo’ are just a few of the many biographies of this famous writer that have been written throughout the years.
Estimated Net Worth
Michael is one of the wealthiest children’s authors and one of the most well-known. Michael Morpurgo’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.