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'Stories belong to everyone'

12 March 2012

'I can't do fantasy.  When I read C S Lewis I just don't get it. I can walk into the cupboard but I can't walk out of it into the snow. I like historical facts, evidence, real stories. There are so many vampires now, there is a lot of dross as well as good stuff. But take J K Rowling or Philip Pullman, it is amazing what these people have done...

A nine-year-old's take on the world is now as sophisticated as mine probably was at 19.  They inhabit the adult world. You can't draw a curtain around childhood. You can't rely on a watershed or children being screened from everything.  Even the six o'clock news has wars, murder.  They may not take it all in but they are thinking about it all the time. You have to write stories for children that reflect their world...

We have a culture in this country where literature is separated from many people. It's seen as snobby and exclusive.We tell great stories in this country. I won't say we invented children's literature, but coming down through Beowulf the telling of tales is deeply part of who we are. Stories belong to everyone... My little book was selling 2,000 copies, now it's going to millions of people. It's a story spreading around that will, I hope, be loved but that's also provocative and will make people think. That's what stories do.'

Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, in The Times