The Week - Junior

Master storytelle­r retells classic tale

Michael Morpurgo’s latest book is about a stranded refugee.


II’ve“’m coming up to 76 now and

been writing for a long time,” says the author Michael Morpurgo. In that time, he’s seen some of his books, including War Horse, adapted for the stage and screen. Morpurgo tells The Week Junior it’s “a joy” to see how people use and transform his stories. Now he is transformi­ng someone else’s work.

The book Gulliver’s Travels ,by Jonathan Swift, was first published in 1726. It features four stories about a man called Gulliver, who visits some very strange and distant lands. The best known of the tales is set on the island of Lilliput, where everyone is less than 15 centimetre­s tall. Reading the book, Morpurgo realised that “Swift had written something which was about his own time”, and he wanted to do something similar.

In 2015, Morpurgo was shocked to see images of Alan Kurdi, a young refugee boy who drowned in the Mediterran­ean Sea. A refugee is someone who has been forced to leave their home because of war or violence, or because it is unsafe to stay there. This tragedy inspired Morpurgo to write a new story.

With Boy Giant: Son of Gulliver,

Morpurgo has created a sequel to

Gulliver’s Travels, about a young refugee called Omar who ends up on Lilliput while travelling from Afghanista­n to the UK. It’s a tough subject, but Morpurgo says young people have “great sensitivit­y and intelligen­ce”, and “need to know the depths to which humanity can sink, as well as the heights”.

The author says he wants to create a “fairer society where people are kind to one another”. He says, “The most important thing in order to achieve this is to know our story, to know where we’ve come from”.

Morpurgo’s book Boy Giant: Son of Gulliver is out now in hardback.

 ??  ?? Morpurgo’s newest book.
Morpurgo’s newest book.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom