In the deadly chaos of the First World War, one horse witnesses the reality of battle from both sides of the trenches. Bombarded by artillery, with bullets knocking riders from his back, the author tells a powerful story of the truest friendships surviving in terrible times.
Michael Morpurgo OBE was born in 1943 in St Albans and was educated at Kings Canterbury, Sandhurst and Kings College London. He taught for ten years in both state and private schools and is married with three children and six grandchildren. His first book was published in 1975 and he has since published over 100 titles. His books have been translated into over twenty languages. Michael's books have also been adapted for film and the stage, including most recently the National Theatre's enormously successful production of War Horse. Together with his wife Clare he founded Farms for City Children, an educational charity, in 1976. The organisation now runs three farms welcoming over 3,000 children a year. In 1999 he was awarded an MBE for services to youth, and in 2006 he was awarded an OBE. His books have won the Whitbread Award (The Wreck Of Zanzibar), the Smarties Book Prize (The Butterfly Lion), the Children's Book Award (Kensuke's Kingdom) and Cercle D'Or Prix Sorciere (King Of The Cloud Forests), the Blue Peter Book Award and the Califonia Young Reader Medal (Private Peaceful), the Independent Booksellers' Book of the Year Award (Alone On A Wide Wide Sea) and several have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Michael was Children's Laureate from 2003-2005. Rae Smith is a Tony and Olivier award winning theatre designer who trained at Central School of Art and Design and has been designing theatre for 25 years. She has recently designed Tori Amos' The Light Princess at the National Theatre, at the Coliseum for Terry Gilliam's Benvenuto Cellini, Prince of the Pagodas and The Tempest for David Bintley at the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Caverleri Rusticana and Pagliacchi for Sir David McVicar at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. Rae designed the stage adaptation of War Horse in 2007 where her drawings formed a background to the settings for the story onstage. This collaboration with Michael Morpurgo led to Michael inviting her to work on the War Horse illustrated edition, which was published in 2013. Rae also performs live drawing for Michael Morpurgo's readings of War Horse, and her drawings for the stage show and the Illustrated Edition are exhibited at The Illustration Cupboard from 6 August 2014.