Michael Morpurgo has donated his archive, including a handwritten draft of Private Peaceful (HarperCollins Children’s Books) and material relating to the stage and screen adaptations of War Horse (Egmont), to Newcastle based children's literature centre Seven Stories.
“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” said Morpurgo.
“It is our National Centre for Children’s Books created for the enjoyment and inspiration of children and adults, and it does this by embracing the whole children’s book world. It made sense to us that it should be the home for my stuff."
Highlights from the archive include manuscripts of early unpublished work, handwritten drafts of Kensuke’s Kingdom (Egmont) and The Butterfly Lion (HarperCollins Children’s Books), and photographs of Morpurgo’s early days in Devon. There are also typewritten manuscripts from Ted Hughes of the poems he wrote for All Around the Year (1979, John Murray Publishers), an early collaboration with Morpurgo.
Seven Stories will use the material to create a new exhibition about Morpurgo’s work, which will open at its home in Newcastle in July 2016. It will then take the exhibition on a nationwide tour.
Kate Edwards, Seven Stories chief executive, said: “We were honoured and humbled when Michael said that he would like Seven Stories to be custodian of his archive. This archive will be treasured, studied, showcased and enjoyed for many generations to come, giving a real and fascinating insight into the creative life of this important and well-loved author.”