World Famous Author Release New Book Set In Scilly

michael morpurgo porthcressa library

Michael Morpurgo reading to children at the Porthcressa library last year.

An award winning author will put Scilly in the spotlight on Thursday, when he launches a fifth book set on the islands.

Michael Morpurgo, the writer who brought us the worldwide hit ‘War Horse’ and ‘Why the Whales Came’ was on the islands in June 2013 to open the new Porthcressa library, when he heard a story that he believed could form the basis for a new book.

The idea developed when Michael visited St Helens to research the history of how the island was used to isolate people with contagious diseases.

That’s central to the plot of his new book, ‘Listen to the Moon.’

Michael says actually being in the place, hearing the birds and smelling the sea is much more inspiring than just looking at a picture.

In the book, the main character, a young girl, is washed up alone on St Helens after the liner that she’s traveling on, the Lusitania, is sunk by German submarines en route from the USA to England. When the girl is discovered, she’s treated with suspicion because the trauma has rendered her unable to communicate.

The story is set against the backdrop of the First World War and Michael says his research revealed a lot about Scilly during that conflict. At the start of the war, the Germans issued an order that no ship should attack the islands because they were so grateful for the Scillonians’ help rescuing their citizens when the Schiller sank. That fact is also woven into the story.

As well as being set in Scilly, Michael says islanders he’s learned about during his research heavily influenced the book. One of his characters is modelled on a doctor living here at the time, who becomes the ‘moral heart’ of the story.

Michael says he enjoys writing about Scilly and he’s looking forward to the reaction to the book, which he says is an “epic work” at over 100,000 words.

Children he’s spoken to that have read it can’t believe that the islands are a real place, with names like ‘Samson’ and ‘Droppy Nose Point.’ And he says that the book will bring some curious visitors keen to view our islands.

Listen to the Moon is released on Thursday and the Radio Scilly Book Club will be reviewing an advance copy of the book at noon on that day.