Author Michael Morpurgo is the winner of this year’s Eleanor Farjeon Award for outstanding contribution to the world of children’s books.
The award is administered by the Children’s Book Circle, which chose Morpurgo because of how he has “inspired a deep passion” throughout his career.
In his acceptance speech Morpurgo said it was “a joy of association” to win this award and applauded the breadth of the prize and its recognition of contributions from the full sphere of children’s books as “the making involves everyone... it reaches out to libraries, people who care, authors and publishers. It takes us all to put out the joy of reading.”
Morpurgo received the award from Anne Harvey, executor of the Eleanor Farjeon Estate.
After the prize announcement, Nicola Davies gave this year’s Patrick Hardy lecture. In her lecture, titled 'Whale Tail Tales and Other Stories', Davies recounted her adventures at sea searching for sightings of humpback whales and how following these creatures around the globe led her to notice the narratives around us and find the stories in life.
Davies closed the evening by saying more needs to be done to tackle illiteracy. “We are supposed to be a civilised country but we have immeasurable numbers of illiteracy and we have families who think they're not allowed to go into bookshops. Ladies and gentlemen, we have work to do.”