Themes - Animals
While some joke that he makes a habit of writing about animals, Michael is unendingly passionate about exploring how they interact with humans; how the relationship between humans and the helpless creatures that depend on them can be cruel and exploitative, but also sometimes filled with mutual tenderness. Once, Michael witnessed a boy talking to a horse so intently and with such affection that he found himself greatly touched: this led him to write his much-acclaimed and much-loved bestseller, War Horse. It is with a glint in his eye that Michael will talk about his very favourite animal, the elephant: a love that arose from his mother reading Rudyard Kipling’s The Elephant Child to him when he was a boy. Now, as a grown man and writer, Michael has written twice about elephants himself: his fascination with the story of the woman who kept an elephant in her garden during the Belfast Blitz gave birth to the stunning World War Two tale, The Elephant in the Garden, while Running Wild is his moving and incredible tale, re-imagined from a real-life story, of a boy who was rescued by an elephant who sensed the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia. An ardent advocate for the rights of the animal and for the wisdom they can share with us, Michael always shows us animals as beautiful, sensitive creatures, who remain with us a long time after closing the book.