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Children’s author unites generations with his war story

It is rather unusual for a children’s author to fill his books with war and violence, but for beloved writer Michael Morpurgo, conflict became the common thread in his creations.

He told CNN in an interview that aired on Thursday,

“I care about war because I’m a war child. I was born in ‘43 and grew up with the Second World War, the damage that had wrought on people and societies and families and buildings… and I’ve played in bomb sites. I grew up with all that world of war around me,”

His best-selling novel-turned-blockbuster and stage play War Horse, which is about the First World War, only became a phenomenon 25 years after the book was written in 1982.

“The National Theatre picked it up really because Tom Morris discovered my book. In fact, his mother said one day, ‘Tom, you should read this book. It’s quite good’. And luckily he listened to his mother, made the play,”

Morpurgo said.

The First World War is also the subject of his latest novel, Listen to the Moon, a powerful journey based on the sinking of the American civilian liner the Lusitania.

“There were 1,200 people drowned on the Lusitania in May 1915 after Germany boat put a torpedo in her side. She sank in 18 minutes; the Titanic took three hours. The loss of life was really terrible.”

The award-winning English writer explained that while he does just write for himself, his ultimate goal

“is to try to tell stories that have some kind of universality, that they touch the lives of older people and parents and children at the same time.”

Over five million people have now seen War Horse on stage worldwide.

“It’s been on in Germany for a year, in Berlin and London at the same time, about this war that happened 100 years ago. And to me, that is the most moving thing. If there’s any justification for writing any of my stories, it’s that, that we are listening to the story about reconciliation and these two capitals, where these people came together and did this appalling thing.”

Watch the interview online at www.amanpour.blogs.cnn.com

 

War Horse’s Joey and Michael Morpurgo visit The Tower of London Poppies

Photo: Alex Rumford for the National Theatre

Michael Morpurgo joined Joey, the life-size horse puppet and star of the National Theatre’s production of War Horse, to visit the poppies installation at the Tower of London on Sunday 19 October. Joey walked amongst the poppies and Michael Morpurgo planted a poppy before reading the Roll of Honour.

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is a major art installation at the Tower of London, marking one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies will progressively fill the Tower’s famous moat over the summer. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during the war.

Each of the poppies is available to buy online for £25 (+p&p) with 10% of profits and all net proceeds being donated to six service charities.

Throughout the installation period (05 August to 11 November) at twilight, you can witness from Tower Hill terrace the names of 180 serving military killed during the First World War being read out in a roll of honour. This is followed by the ‘Last Post’ bugle call played by a single bugler.

For more information on Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, please visit www.poppies.hrp.org.uk

For further information about War Horse www.warhorseonstage.com