Reading charity Booktrust has appointed former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo as president.
The role—given to a notable figure as a supporter and ambassador for Booktrust’s work—was previously held by Doris Lessing, who died in November.
Morpurgo described the invitation to join Booktrust as an "honour".
“Booktrust is batting for literature in all its forms," he said. "The organisation is particularly meaningful for me: my late stepfather, Jack Morpurgo, was Director of the National Book League, from which Booktrust grew. What Booktrust continues to do is to not simply promote reading, but to enthuse teachers, parents and children with the joy and wonder that can be found in books. To be invited to join them as their president is an honour, and I hope I can make a significant contribution.”
Chief executive Viv Bird said Booktrust was a huge admirer of Morpurgo. “His is a powerful voice and we are incredibly grateful to have his support,” she said. “We look forward to working together to change the story for children across the country.”
The charity is behind several children’s book prizes, including the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Waterstones Children’s Laureate and Booktrust Best Book Awards, which is supported by Kindle. It also gives free books to children through programmes such as Bookstart.
Morpurgo is the author of over 120 books for children, including the hugely successful War Horse, and has won the Smarties Prize, The Writers Guild Award and the Blue Peter Book Award. He was children's laureate from 2003-2005.