The annual J M Barrie Award is presented by Action for Children’s Arts and is given to a children’s arts practitioner whose lifetime’s work has delighted children and will, in the opinion of the charity’s trustees, like J M Barrie’s Peter Pan, stand the test of time.
This year, storymaker, playwright and performer, Michael Morpurgo will be awarded the J M Barrie Award for his contribution to children’s literature.
Morpurgo is the author of over 140 books, and his novels have been adapted into hugely successful productions for both the stage and screen. Most notably among them is the National Theatre’s production of War Horse, that begins a major tour of the UK in September 2017 taking it to Festival Theatre Edinburgh in April 2018.
His novel Running Wild, about a young girl caught up the aftermath of a tsunami that, like War Horse, features life size animal puppetry, will be at the King’s Theatre Edinburgh in May 2017.
Michael Morpurgo was appointed Children’s Laureate from 2003-2005 and in 2006 Michael was made an OBE for his work in children’s literature. He and his wife Clare, who have received MBEs for their work in education, founded the charity Farms For City Children that offers around 3,000 children a year from inner city schools the chance to spend a week living and working on a real farm.
Michael Morpurgo said, “J M Barrie, or Peter Pan, tells us: 'The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it’. Storymakers and storytellers like Barrie, and like all the previous winners of this award, have given us the hope and faith children need, we need, to keep flying, have sustained us through dark and troubled times, have banished doubt. To touch the lives of children, to witness their listening and reading silence, is reward enough in itself. This is simply the icing on the cake. Icing is best tasted while still in the mixing bowl, on the end of finger. This is an icing sugar day. Thank you, and thankyou dear Mr Barrie, and Peter. I'll keep flying”.
Other awards to be presented at the ceremony are the ACA Members’ Awards, recognising children’s arts unsung heroes when the Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Arts 2016 will be given to Linda McClelland, Education Coordinator, National Galleries of Scotland
Previous winners of the J M Barrie Award have included Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Judith Kerr OBE, Sir Quentin Blake, Bernard Cribbins OBE and Roger McGough CBE. The award, now in its 12th year, will be presented on November 10th at a ceremony held at the BBC Radio Theatre, Broadcasting House, London.