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Read, Watch and Listen

Michael's orange notebooks

Orange school notebooks are an important repository for Michael's first ideas and drafts. On the cover of this Private Peaceful (2003) notebook, Michael notes how many words he's written each day as he develops the story.

Image: Seven Stories: National Centre for Children's Books, photography by Rich Kenworthy.

Original manuscripts

Visitors have the opportunity to view handwritten drafts and typescripts from Listen to the Moon (2014), which tells the story of Lucy, a young girl who is washed up on the Scilly Isles during World War One, unable to speak. The novel explores the power of communication and the threat of silence.

Image: Seven Stories: National Centre for Children's Books, photography by Rich Kenworthy.

War Horse

Michael’s handwritten draft of Chapter 8 of War Horse (1982), on display for the first time in the Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime in Stories exhibition. The displays show how the story evolved from first draft to publication of the book, to adaptation for the National Theatre and Steven Spielberg film scripts.

Image: Seven Stories: National Centre for Children’s Books, photography by Rich Kenworthy.

Victoria Donovan, University of St Andrews

Victoria Donovan, based at the University of St Andrews, is a cultural historian of Russia whose research explores local identities, heritage politics, and the cultural memory of the Soviet past in twenty-first century Russia. Her new project explores patriotic identity in Putin’s Russia. She is also working on a project that looks at the connections between mining communities in South Wales and Eastern Ukraine.

Making it right

The project, hosted by HMP Thameside, aimed to help inmates desist from crime.


After the initial designing process, the inmates made prototypes from paper and other fabrics. This encouraged the inmates to follow the manufacturing process from start to finish.

Donated fabrics

Much of the fabric used was either donated by private organisations, or manufactured by Sabarmati Central Prison, India. One of the fabrics donated has a retail price of £900 per meter.


Each bag was displayed with a label identifying its designer, and also hinted at a name for the model – much like high-street products (Ikea’s ‘Billy’ bookcase, or Louis Vuitton’s ‘Alma’ handbag).

Theft proof

The labels provided information about the design inspiration and features of the bag, including the ways that the bag was designed against theft.


The finish products as modelled by visitors to the exhibition: Central St Martin’s Art College are aiming to continue the project by designing and creating sellable products to purchase online.