Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Michael Morpurgo - in conversation with Gillian Hamer

At WWJ towers, we’re uber-excited to have an exclusive interview with the multi-talented author, Michael Morpurgo, in our next issue. Not only has he written over 120 novels, he has recently seen his most famous novel, War Horse, transformed into an epic big screen hit, directed by world-famous director, Stephen Spielberg.

His honest replies about his decision to write about war and its effects, even to an audience of children - plus his reasons behind writing War Horse, very nearly had this hardened journo on the edge of tears. This is a man who comes across as not only passionate about writing – but equally passionate about life.

As well as answering a wide variety of searching questions about his recent experiences, not only with Hollywood, but also seeing War Horse transformed into a huge hit with theatre audiences across the globe, Michael took time out to answer our quick fire questions from one of his biggest fans - Harry Ellison-Oakes from Class 3, Colne Engaine School, near Colchester, Essex. Harry’s class read ‘Friend or Foe’ last year and also saw the theatre production.

What inspired you to write about horses at war?
Meeting an old man who had once been a soldier in WW1

What gave you the idea to have Joey’s best friend, Topthorn, die?
Millions of horses did die in the war.

Did you ever consider an alternative ending?

Why did you make Albert’s father horrible to Joey?
Not everyone can be nice and it was in his character to be a bit harsh.

The saddest bit of the book for me was when we found out that Emily had died, did you feel sad when you wrote it?
Yes, very.

We also like to be a bit political at WWJ Towers, so we thought it interesting to see what Michael Morpurgo, often out-spoken with his beliefs, thought about on-going library closures, and we weren’t disappointed with his reply:

Q You are on record as criticising library closures both in Devon where you now live and in your native Hertfordshire. But what kind of library service do you think can best serve communities these days?
A I believe that good libraries and good school libraries in particular are vital, but more importantly the librarians who work in them and enthuse about books and stories, are essential. We all know that reading can transform people and change lives, and libraries play a vital role, especially for those children who don’t have books at home.

For the full interview, look out for April’s Words with Jam, for yet another exclusive for one of today’s hottest authors.

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