Reading charity Booktrust is pleased to announce former Children’s Laureate and best-selling author Michael Morpurgo as its new President. The role, previously held by the late Doris Lessing, offers a notable figure as a supporter and ambassador for Booktrust’s work.
Booktrust believes that no-one should miss out on the life changing benefits that reading can bring. It gives free books to children via national programmes such as ‘Bookstart’, which works through locally based organisations to give packs of books to babies and toddlers, with guidance materials for parents and carers. With over 90 years of expertise in recommending books, it runs sponsored book prizes and manages creative reading projects, such as the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the Waterstones Children’s Laureate. This year, it launched a brand new prize – The Booktrust Best Book Awards, supported by Kindle.
Michael Morpurgo OBE is the award-winning author of over 120 books for children, including War Horse, which has been adapted into a phenomenally successful stage show and film. Among his many accolades, he has won the Smarties Prize, The Writers Guild Award and the Blue Peter Book Award. From 2003-2005 he was the Children’s Laureate, and in 2005 he was named the Booksellers Association Author of the Year. Along with his wife Clare, he founded the charity Farms for City Children (FFCC), which offers young children from urban areas the chance to spend time working on farms in the heart of the countryside. Over 75,000 children have taken part in FFCC.
Michael Morpurgo says: “Booktrust is batting for literature in all its forms. The organisation is particularly meaningful for me: my late stepfather, Jack Morpurgo, was Director of the National Book League, from which Booktrust grew. What Booktrust continues to do is to not simply promote reading, but to enthuse teachers, parents and children with the joy and wonder that can be found in books. To be invited to join them as their president is an honour, and I hope I can make a significant contribution.”
Viv Bird, Booktrust Chief Executive says: “Booktrust is a huge admirer of Michael Morpurgo, not only as one of the finest story tellers of a generation, but of his tireless work in promoting reading and literacy to change the lives of children. His is a powerful voice and we are incredibly grateful to have his support. We look forward to working together to change the story for children across the country.”