Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Michael Morpurgo in Buxton... with Joanna Lumley

Michael Morpurgo, centre in red shirt and sun hat, Joanna Lumley, right in floral outfit
I had the pleasure of seeing Michael Morpurgo at the Buxton Opera House on Monday morning.

He appeared as part of the Buxton Literature Festival and was joined on stage by Joanna Lumley, who asked Michael about his life and work while promoting a new biography of the author, War Child to War Horse, which features seven new stories - or 'babies' as he put it - specially written for it.

It was a charming event - Michael truly is a great storyteller, not just on the page, but in person too. The theatre - a beautiful piece of architecture by Frank Matcham - was absolutely jammed with Morpurgo fans. And every one sat in rapt silence, hanging on his every word.

The highlights:

Michael and his wife were able to set up their inspirational Farms for City Children charity thanks to a large fortune left by Claire Morpurgo's father, Allen Lane... the founder of Penguin Books.

Michael these days writes in longhand, on his bed, his knees drawn up in front of him - inspired by his hero Robert Louis Stevenson. Michael suffers from repetitive strain injury (RSI).

Michael set up the post of the Children's Laureate with the help of his friend and Devon neighbour, Ted Hughes - 'an imposing man', who could open doors to make things happen for the FfCC charity thanks to his reputation as a poetry great of the 20th century.

Steven Spielberg did a fine job with his film version of War Horse, in Michael's opinion - although the Devon farming scenes were a tad Hollywood and not earthy enough.

Michael is good friends with Joanna Lumley, a patron of Farms for City Children, who happens to be married to Stephen Barlow... artistic director of the Buxton Festival until 2014.

Both Michael and Joanna met fans as they bought books outside the opera house in the glorious sunshine. Michael was unable to sign books due to his RSI, but pre-signed book plates were handed out to those who purchased tomes. Sadly, I didn't have time to join the long queue, as I had to get to work. But I did take a few photos (badly) before I left.


  1. I really glad to read thi , Michael Moruprog my loving bookr ..