11 December: Michelle Magorian


It’s Day 11 and we’re talking to Michelle Magorian!michelle-magorian-1

Michelle Magorian is one of our most respected children’s writers of historical family stories. Her first novel Goodnight Mister Tom won awards across the world and has been translated into eleven languages. Many of her books have been adapted for film, television and the stage. Michelle spends considerable time researching her books and enjoys this process, ensuring her writing is the best it can be. She has written for Barrington Stoke who produce accessible books for readers of all ages and abilities.

Name three things on your Christmas list this year! Gingerbread men, mince pies with Greek yoghurt and lebkuchen.

Christmas is a time of family traditions – what are your best (or worst!) family traditions? Decorating the Christmas tree (best).

There are wonderful stories shared at Christmas time. What is your favoa-christmas-carolurite story to read at Christmas? We have so many Christmas stories from all over the world. We always have a lovely pop up version of a Nativity scene on a mantelpiece but the story which keeps recurring year after year is A Christmas Carol.

If you could have Christmas dinner with anyone (alive today or person from history) who would it be? My mother. She loved feeding people and had the kind of laugh that made other people laugh too! She died when I was in my twenties.

You have created some wonderful characters in your stories. If you could give a book to any of your characters for Christmas, who would it be and which book would you give them? Josie from Impossible! I would give her We didn’t mean to go to sea by Arthur Ransome

(I loved Josie – such a great character!)


Your latest novel ‘Impossible’ features London theatre in the 60s. If there was any play or production (in theatres now or from history) you could go and see during the festive season what would it be? Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer (1965) I saw it at the Old Vic when I was a drama student and it made me howl with laughter. It takes place in a blackout but the audience can see everyone stumbling around on stage.I think we need more laughter in our lives especially when it’s cold outside.

(Couldn’t agree more! Laughter is definitely the best medicine.)


Reader’s question from Harry, aged 10, Dartington Primary, Devon: I cried when Zach died in the Blitz in Goodnight Mr Tom. Did you ever feel like crying when you were writing the story?  Yes. I had to go for long calming down walks between writing some of the scenes in the book. Harry, the area around back_homeDartington appears in one of my books called Back Home!


Turkey or goose? Turkey

Real or fake tree? Real

Mince pies or Christmas pudding? Mince pies

Stockings –  end of the bed or over the fireplace? End of the bed – Red pillowcases.

Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve? Both!

Thank you for participating in our festive Q & A! Have a Happy Christmas.


You can read my review of Impossible on the Bookshelf.

Find out more about Michelle at www.michellemagorian.com


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