Lockdown Reads with Michael Morpurgo
We caught up with acclaimed children’s author Michael Morpurgo to discuss books and reading – and which books he would choose if he could only have three while in lockdown!
If you could only have three books to read in lockdown, what would they be?
The complete works of Shakespeare because I am actually re-telling some of Shakespeare’s plays right now. Perhaps a poetry collection – I love poetry so perhaps The Rattle Bag edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes or the poetry of Sean Rafferty who was a poet who lived near us in our village in Devon. Another suggestion would be the biography of Samuel Pepys – The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin.
What is your favourite place to read?
I love to read somewhere comfortable – sitting on my bed with lots of pillows propped up behind me with the book on my knees. This is how I write too.
Who do you go to for book recommendations?
My wife a lot of the time but also friends recommend and send me books.
Why do you read?
Reading makes you realise you are not alone and enables you to escape and meet people from all over the world. And books and reading give you knowledge and understanding and insights into yourself and others.
Reading makes you realise you are not alone and enables you to escape and meet people from all over the world.
When I was a boy I didn’t like reading but I loved stories and being read to. I was lucky because my mother always read to my brother and I the stories and poems that she loved – Kipling, Walter de la Mare and Robert Louis Stevenson and she passed on to me her love of words and stories and poems.
Why do you think it is important that everyone has access to books?
Because reading can and does change lives.
Despite everything – great teachers, writers, illustrators, publishers and libraries – there still exists a divide, between haves and have-nots, between those who read, who through books, through developing an enjoyment of literature, can have the opportunity to access the considerable cultural and material benefits of our society; and those who were made to feel very early on that the world of words, of books, of stories, of ideas, was not for them.
Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain’s best-loved writers for children. He has written over 150 books, has served as Children’s Laureate, and has won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Writers Guild Award, the Whitbread Award, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Eleanor Farjeon Lifetime Achievement Award. With his wife, Clare, he is the co-founder of Farms for City Children. Michael was knighted in 2018 for services to literature and charity.
His latest book, Boy Giant, is published by HarperCollins. Find out more here.