War Horse author presented with Hallam degree

"WAR HORSE" DM-AC-00047 Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his horse Joey are featured in this scene from DreamWorks Pictures' "War Horse", director Steven Spielberg's epic adventure for audiences of all ages, set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War. Ph: Andrew Cooper, SMPSP �DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC. �All Rights Reserved.

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AS WAR Horse opens in cinemas across the UK today, audiences should keep their eyes peeled for a small cameo appearance from author Michael Morpurgo.

“It’s a case of blink and you’ll miss it,” explained Morpurgo, who spent a few days on set with his wife Claire last year and managed to wangle a small role for them both.

“I’m just hoping the film is good, I’m sure it will be since they managed to get that Spielberg fellow to direct it, I’ve heard he’s not bad,” the 68-year-old joked.

“He was a master at work on the set, truly the best cinematic storyteller of our time and I’m so grateful he was involved in this project.”

War Horse was originally published in 1982 as a novel for young adults.

But the heart-rending story – of a bond between horse and human that remains unbroken through the horrors of war – has appealed to readers of all ages.

“It’s been an exciting year, Michael told The Star when he was in Sheffield just before Christmas to receive an honourary degree from Hallam University for his services to children’s literature.

“I’ve won the children’s book prize in Sheffield a couple of times and have family here, so the place is special to me,” he said.

“Life is not a straight dash and it certainly took time for me to get where I wanted to be.

“I started out in the army, then I trained and taught as a teacher before eventually finding success as a writer.

n Log on to www.thestar.co.uk/video to watch our interview with Michael Morpurgo.

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