Michael Morpurgo

 Multi-award winning author Michael Morpurgo has donated his entire archive to Seven Stories, as it stands now and for the remainder of his creative life. The archive contains draft manuscripts, photographs, notebooks and related correspondence from his first publication It Never Rained (1974, Macmillan) to An Eagle in the Snow (2015, Harper Collins). Well known and loved works including War Horse (1982, Egmont), Private Peaceful (2003, Harper Collins), On Angel’s Wings (2006, Egmont) and Shadow (2010, Harper Collins) are represented. Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain’s greatest living authors for children. His work spans 40 years and a career that has seen the publication of over 150 books for children, traversing wide-ranging topics that explore historical events, natural history and the environment, adventure and family life. Morpurgo is a true champion of children and young people’s culture, creativity and their right to read and enjoy stories. He was instrumental in setting up the Children’s Laureateship in 1997, and his services to children’s literature were recognised in 2006 when he was awarded an OBE. “I have known Seven Stories for a number of years and admired the way that it has worked quietly and diligently to fill an obvious gap in our culture by founding a National children’s literature archive and by using it to make amazing exhibitions” says Michael Morpurgo, explaining his reason for the donation. “Seven Stories is a most extraordinary achievement for the country and for Newcastle. It is our National Centre for Children’s Books created for the enjoyment and inspiration of children and adults, and it does this by embracing the whole children’s book world. It made sense to us that it should be the home for my stuff”. Seven Stories will draw upon Michael’s extensive archive to make brand new exhibition that will open at their museum in Newcastle on 1st July 2016. A national tour will follow. The exhibition will explore Morpurgo’s storytelling and will celebrate the impact of his poignant tales on a nation of young readers. It is being supported through a new Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Seven Stories and Newcastle University’s School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics. The KTP is believed to be the first of its kind between a university English department and an external organisation, and is being funded by InnovateUK and the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Seven Stories was able to support the acquisition from Michael Morpurgo through support from Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Collecting Cultures’ programme, which has been awarded to Seven Stories in recognition of the museum’s national role in telling a comprehensive story of modern British children’s literature. The Seven Stories Collection comprises manuscripts, artwork, archives and books dating from 1930s to the present day, and represents the work of over 250 authors and illustrators. Seven Stories cares for holdings of national and international significance, which had previously been overlooked before the charity’s establishment in 1996.









Early handwritten draft of the ‘author’s note’ from War Horse (Kaye & Ward, 1982) by Michael Morpurgo. © Michael Morpurgo, c. 1981.