Author, writer, storyteller, I suppose they all mean more or less the same thing, but in the case of Michael Morpurgo I would have thought storyteller was the best description. I caught up with him in London this morning and managed to get a few minutes on a very grey day to shoot his hands. With over 140 books to his name Michael is a remarkable storyteller. He began life as a teacher and found his classes so transfixed by his storytelling that he began to write. Most famous of course for War Horse, but his other books have delighted adults and children for decades. His stories encourage children to pick up books and start reading for themselves for the very first time, the most important moment in their literary lives, and a rare and valuable gift to bestow on our future. There are few authors around today who still write all their books in longhand, and it’s not without cost. He has a dodgy shoulder from his many hours of scribbling, but he has tough, and as he puts it, work-a-day hands. He lives on a farm in the countryside and his hands have milked cows, put up fences, chopped down trees and taken all the knocks that a real rural life can throw at them. He’d cut his thumb the day before, but not on his writing hand thankfully. As well as all his writing, he does a lot of work for children (aside from providing them with a rich well of stories to immerse themselves in). A friend of mine’s daughter is true Morpurgo fan, so I took along his latest book and he very kindly wrote a delightful inscription to her. He seemed a genuinely nice man, and, he’ll kill me for this, reminded me uncannily of Jim Broadbent. 140 books written by hand, that’s quite something. I don’t think this is the image I will use in the collection, I just liked the idea of him going back to when he first started reading to children.