Without stories, in which all of us - living, dead, not yet born - participate, we are, as T.S. Eliot wrote, no more than 'bits of paper blown on the cold wind'. But, over the past century, the old, oral traditions of storytelling have withered; and today even printed stories are beleaguered. It takes a rare gift to lure children away from the instant, if isolating, satisfactions of the Play Station, the Wii, the photocopied worksheet, and into books. Michael Morpurgo, former Children's Laureate, and author of more than 100 books, has this gift. The sales figures speak for themselves: 500,000 copies of War Horse alone; 200,000 copies of Private Peaceful. He has been garlanded with prizes and honours not only in Britain, but also in France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium. The Wreck of the Zanzibar, Kensuke's Kingdom, The Butterfly Lion, Why the Whales Came are simply unputdownable. Read not only in homes but in schools up and down the country, they have established themselves as modern classics. But the one story Michael Morpurgo feels unable to tell is his own. And yet he wants the story to be told, and he has invited Maggie Fergusson to help tell it. The end result will be a hybrid book of stories and biography; a book that will appeal to children who love Michael's work, to the young adults who enjoyed his books as children, and to older people intrigued to revisit the decades through which they've lived in the company of a man of sensitivity, imagination and vision.