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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The 'magic' in a great tale

“There is the myth that writing books for children is easier than writing books for grownups, whereas we know that truly great books for children are works of genius, whether it's 'Alice in Wonderland' or the 'Gruffalo' or 'Northern Lights.' When it's a great book, it's a great book, whether it's for children or not.” – Michael Morpurgo

Author, poet, playwright, and librettist Morpurgo, born on this day in 1943, is known best for children's novels such as War Horse (also a noted and award-winning play and movie).  His forte's as a writer are "magical storytelling,” and recurring themes such as the triumph of an outsider or survival, and his characters' relationships with nature.

The London native intended to be a teacher.  But it was during typical class days that he noticed how entranced and intent his students became when it was “story time,” particularly when those stories involved the magical or fantastical.  “I could see there was magic in it for them,” he said, “and so it became for me.” 
A British Children’s Laureate (from 2003-2005),                       
he is the recipient of numerous awards, including 4 Carnegie Medals – the latest in 2014 
for Listen to the Moon – and recognition from around the world for his Private Peaceful, about the horrors of war and its effects on a young soldier named Tommy Peaceful.  He has successfully adapted several of his books into operas or operettas.

His advice to young writers:   “Write because you love it and not because it is something that you think you should do. Always write about something or somebody you know about what you feel deeply and passionately about. Never try and force it.”

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