A war horse’s tale retold as author Michael Morpurgo delights audience

Michael Morpurgo and Ben Murray on stage at St Andrew's Hall in Norwich. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Michael Morpurgo and Ben Murray on stage at St Andrew's Hall in Norwich. Picture: Stuart Anderson - Credit: Archant

'In the old school they use now for the Village Hall, hangs a small dusty painting of a horse.'

Michael Morpurgo and Ben Murray on stage at St Andrew's Hall in Norwich. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Michael Morpurgo and Ben Murray on stage at St Andrew's Hall in Norwich. Picture: Stuart Anderson - Credit: Archant

So began a very special story time in front of more than 200 people at Norwich's St Andrew's Hall this afternoon (Sunday, July 9).

The story was War Horse, the moving tale of young Albert and his beloved horse Joey, who witnesses the heartbreak on both side of the trenches in the First World War.

And doing the telling was none other than its renowned author, Michael Morpurgo, appearing as part of the Young Norwich Arts Festival for the second time after first visiting in 2015.

More than 200 people were at the War Horse: Only Remembered event, which also featured musician Ben Murray performing songs from the War Horse play on a piano accordion.

Children's author Michael Morpurgo, when he appeared in Norwich in 2015.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Children's author Michael Morpurgo, when he appeared in Norwich in 2015. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Festival co-ordinator Lucy Farrant said it was 'incredibly exciting'.

She said: Michael is an absolutely delightful person and one of the most popular children's author in the world.

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'So it's a real thrill for the festival that he has come back to Norwich for the second time to meet the people of Norwich and their families.'

After reading part of War Horse, Mr Morpurgo and Mr Murray had a short conversation with the audience.

Nine-year-old Noah Freeman, of Ludham, was one fan who enjoyed the performance.

Noah said: 'He puts a lot of emotion into his books and it's very powerful how he describes things.

'He gets a lot of emotion out of the reader and makes you want to read on.'

Noah's mum, Riley, said she had also read some of the author's books.

She said: 'I think they bridge a gap between children and adults.'

Another fan, Jess Lowry, 14, from North Earlham, said: 'He puts a lot of research into his books and I really like the style he write in.

'I've read quite a few of his books - Running Wild is my favourite.'

The festival continues this week with events including a Fly Festival Poetry Slam at the University of East Anglia on Wednesday from 2.30pm, Sistema in Norwich summer concerts on Friday, and Saturday.

For more information about what's on during the festival, visit www.ynaf.org.uk

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