AWARD-winning children’s author Michael Morpurgo called for an end to primary school SATs during a visit to Chester.
The former Children’s Laureate was speaking at the University of Chester’s Molloy Lecture Theatre
as part of the Shell Chester Literature Festival and the university’s Autumn Festival.
He admitted to the audience of more than 350 people that he has never faced a blank page waiting for inspiration and neither should a primary school child in a school test.
“I wait until the ideas are all in my head and then I let them run down my arm, through the pen and on to the paper,” he said.
The audience of adults and children alike listened to tales of his school days, including an attempt to run away from boarding school at the age of seven.
Despite sufffering from a heavy cold, he also read from a number of his hit novels including Private Peaceful, his moving story set in the First World War and Kaspar, the tail of a cat aboard the Titanic.
The star of one of his books was in the audience. Patrick Greaves, son of Bank of America’s communication executive, John Greaves, first met Michael three years ago when the author was guest of honour at the University of Chester for the High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature Awards Evening, which is sponsored by the bank.
He told the 12-year-old that he had never called one of his characters ‘Patrick’, and would do so in his next novel. A boy called Patrick appears in the novel Born to Run.
Mr Morpurgo also presented the prizes in the Shell Chester Literature Festival Schools Poetry competition. The winning poems were Life by Blythe Walker of Oldfield Primary School (Years 3 and 4), If Stars were Sharks by Henry May of Huxley Primary School (Years 5 and 6) and Life with a Cherry on Top by Joanne Dimelow of Bishop Heber High School.
Michael Morpurgo lives in Devon with his wife Clare and they run the charity Farms For City Children. He has written more than 100 novels and has won numerous prizes in the United Kingdom, Europe and the rest of the world.
e was the Children's Laureate from 2003 to 2005, and the Booksellers’ Association Author of the Year in 2005. He was awarded the MBE in 1999 and the OBE in 2006.