The exhibition will look at the author’s life and writing process as well as the lives he created for some of his remarkable characters. Devised by ‘Seven Stories’, The National Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, the hugely successful exhibition was opened at their museum in 2016 and has been touring the UK since 2017. The exhibition will include draft manuscripts, photographs, notebooks and correspondence which chronicle Michael’s creative process and writing career. These will include the writing of War Horse, Kensuke’s Kingdom and The Butterfly Lion. It will also include artwork loaned by some of Britain’s greatest illustrators including Sir Quentin Blake, Patrick Benson and Michael Foreman. Come and explore an atmospheric soundscape and learn about Morpurgo’s themes of war, farming and friendship and see inspiring original material for famed works like War Horse including a maquette of the Joey puppet.
Burton at Bideford Principal Ian Danby says ‘We are delighted to be the final stop of the exhibition A Lifetime in Stories current tour, particularly as Michael is such a supporter of The Burton (and particularly the crepes from Café du Parc). We are also pleased to be partnering with Mitchell & Dickinson, our local sponsors who were also keen to see such a high-quality exhibition come to the area that Michael Morpurgo calls home.’
Sarah Lawrance, Seven Stories’ Co-Chief Executive said: “Michael is one of the most influential authors of our time who has done more than most to harness the power of storytelling to touch the hearts and minds of young readers. It’s a privilege to be custodian of his archive and we are excited to be sharing its treasures through this exhibition.”
Michael’s writing style is inspired by fact and real events, “Before you find a voice for a story, you have to find a voice as a writer. Before you find a voice as a writer there is something even more important – you have to find something to write about. It’s no good trying to write about what you don’t care about. You only find out what you care about when you discover what really motivates you to write. The more time you spend in “dream time” living in your head where the story is, imagining how the people involved would feel – then you can lose yourself utterly in the story. That’s what I try to do.”
In 2015 he donated his entire archive to Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books. “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. “We have a huge admiration for what everyone has done at Seven Stories – this is significant and it matters in the world of the arts. That’s an extraordinary thing to have created. It made sense to us that it should be the home for my stuff”.