Michael Morpurgo is the author of many books for children, five of which have been made into films. He also writes his own screenplays and libretti for opera.
Born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in 1943, he was evacuated to Cumberland during the last years of the war, then returned to London, moving later to Essex. After a brief and unsuccessful spell in the army, he took up teaching and started to write. He left teaching after ten years in order to set up 'Farms for City Children' with his wife. They have three farms in Devon, Wales and Gloucestershire, open to inner city school children who come to stay and work with the animals. In 1999 this work was publicly recognised when he and his wife were awarded an MBE for services to youth. He is also a father and grandfather, so children have always played a large part in his life. Every year he and his family spend time in the Scilly Isles, the setting for three of his books.
In 2003 Michael Morpurgo became the third Children's Laureate, a scheme he had originally helped to set up with poet Ted Hughes. The Laureateship rewards a lifetime contribution to children's literature and highlights the importance of the role of children's books. Morpurgo firmly believes that 'literature comes before literacy' and wants all children '...to discover and rediscover the secret pleasure that is reading, and to begin to find their voice in their own writing...'
He was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to literature. His recent publications include Half a Man (2014), An Eagle in the Snow (2016), and Flamingo Boy (2018).