Michael Morpurgo is one of the UK’s most loved children’s authors and on the weekend, he spoke to a packed room in Stroud about his recent books.
In school I like many others of my generation read Private Peaceful and War Horse, two of Morpurgo’s most successful works.
Speaking at the Stroud Book Festival on Saturday, the room was a indeed a varied mix of people: yes, there were schoolchildren, families and teachers but anyone and everyone who had been impacted by his work was there.
Morpurgo delighted us all with his explanations, anecdotes and charm.
The main focus of his talk was about the process of coming up with ideas for h= his books, something which people are interested in and is unique to each author.
Morpurgo explained that writing a new book is like making a cake, you need to have all the right ingredients for the recipe to work.
And in the case of Butterfly Lion, a combination of childhood experiences at school, a chance experience in a lift with film star Virginia McKenna and a true story about a World War One soldier make up the ingredients for one of his best selling works.
After explaining this, Morpurgo then took questions from school children, who were interested to know if the author had a favourite book, animal and whether he had ever abandoned a book after starting to write it.
It is fair to say that lockdown has kept the former children’s laureate busy, as he has released two new works: When Fishes Flew, which was envisioned in a Greek beach, as well as Carnival of the Animals¸ which is a collection of poems about some of the nation’s favourite animals.