Thursday, July 26, 2012

My hero / Ted Hughes by Michael Morpurgo

Ted Hughes

My hero Ted Hughes

Michael Morpurgo
Saturday 31 Octuber 2009

first met Ted Hughes down by the River Torridge in Devon where he was fishing. He was already by this time a huge literary hero of mine. As a teacher in junior schools I had listened to his Poetry in the Making with many classes of children, and been inspired with them to turn my hand to writing. There is no better invitation to write than this book. He simply says: we can all do this. We are all storytellers, all poets, it is a question of keeping your eyes and ears open, and your heart too. And listening hard to the music of the words we use.

That meeting down by the river was to change my life profoundly. He was a near neighbour, a great friend, and a huge supporter of Farms for City Children, the educational charity Clare, my wife, and I began over 30 years ago. He believed, as we did, that for a city child the experience of living and working in the countryside could be as life-changing as a great book or a great poem.
We collaborated on a book about the farm, All Around the Year, and from then on regularly showed each other work in progress. Can you imagine how encouraging that was for a young writer still finding his voice? When my children's novel War Horse failed to win the Whitbread prize, he took me out for the day, not to console me, but to tell me that I had written a fine book, and that I would write a finer one.
Shortly before his early death, he and I worked together to create the post of children's laureate, because he believed, as I did, that someone should be out banging the drum and blowing the trumpet for the best of children's literature.
He may be gone, but he and his work remain unforgettable.







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