AS the smash hit musical War Horse returns to Mayflower Theatre on Tuesday author Michael Morpurgo revealed how he came to write his greatest book.

War Horse first trotted on to stage in September 2017 starting its extensive UK Tour at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.

“And thereby hangs a tale or two!” said author Michael Morpurgo.

“My mother and father were acting in rep at The Marlowe in 1938. I believe it was where they fell in love and decided to get married.

“They were young, and no doubt full of hope for the future. The Second World War was to blight their lives and their marriage.

“I grew up in a family scarred by war. This was, I am sure, why I came to write War Horse all those years ago, why peace and war have been at the heart of so many stories I have written before and since.”

During an eight year run in London, this now iconic National Theatre play toured in the UK, in the US, in Europe, in Australia, Japan and China, and played to over 7 million people worldwide.

“My mother was the first to give me my love of stories,” explained Michael. “She read to me every night - Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories was her favourite and mine.

“She read them with a passion, bringing the characters to life, playing with the language as she read. She acted out those stories to me, made bedtime a joy. I cannot read The Just So Stories without hearing her voice in my head.

“Whatever we become or whatever we achieve in this life, we only do it with the help and inspiration of others, our benefactors.

“My mother gave me my love of stories, a teacher or two at my school - also in Canterbury by the way, the same school where Kit Marlowe went a few years before me. Then there was my friend Ted Hughes who kept me writing when things were not going well; and I owe much to my own children and the children I taught in school, who became my first readers and listeners.

“And my wife Clare is always my first reader and editor, and who always thought War Horse was my best book.

“She was right, it seems. She must be, because Joey has trotted on all these years, in one guise or another, as a book, a play, in concert form, as a film.”