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True Stories, Inspiration & more from Michael Morpurgo at #BathKidsLitFest

October 10, 2016

Michael Morpurgo talked about his relatively new book called Such Stuff – it is about the story behind the story. It sounds really good. He seems to use the truth as inspiration in many of his books for instance he told us all about the true story behind his new book The Eagle In The Snow…

Someone had told him about a man called Henry in WW1. Henry was really brave and he did really brave but slightly stupid things – stupid because they were so dangerous. For instance he used to get out of the trenches and save people. One time there had been a battle for 22 minutes and then an enemy solider had came out of the smoke. Everyone raised their guns to shoot but he had said : “No more killing” and so they let him go free. At the beginning of WW2 it turned out that the enemy they had saved that day had been a younger Adolf Hitler and all through WW2 Henry thought ‘I could have stopped WWII if I’d just killed Adolf when I had the chance that day’.

Morpurgo also told the story behind Adolphus Tips which we’ve listened to in the car on audio CD and loved. Mr Morpurgo had been to a funeral and then to a pub. At the pub there were pictures of black Americans from WW2 carrying furniture. He had asked the barman: “Why are they carrying furniture?” and he was told about the people who’d had to evacuate their towns and about a little girl who was the last to leave. She’d lost her cat and after ten months they were allowed back to their houses and the cat had survived.

Mr Morpurgo was funnier than we thought he’d be. He said he was going to share the questions between the adults and children – even though it as a kids’ event?!! – because he “didn’t want the kids taking over”. That made my brother laugh!

Somebody asked how many books he’d written and he said about 150 (I think) but that it doesn’t matter about quantity it matters about quality. He asked us if we’d heard of an author called… J K Rowling (ha ha!)… and used that as an example to say that because he’s written over 100 books it didn’t make him better than JK as she’d only written seven. (She hasn’t actually, she’s written way more).

A teacher asked what would he do to get kids reading books and it turned out that Mr Morpurgo had once been a teacher and would read 30 minutes to his class every day. He loved it and so did the kids – and he still gets letters from old students saying it helped them love books.

The talk was interesting and I really want to read both the new books. One great fact was that Running Wild was actually true! Except that the main character was a girl in the true story – I wonder why he made it into a boy in the book? One bad thing was that no-one mentioned Prince Kaspar at all which i LITERALLY love! How insulting!

By Betsi Ifans

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