Children's author Sir Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare officially unveiled the UK's first Penguin Books vending machine at Exeter St Davids station this morning (April 21).

At the short ceremony at the station Sir Michael and Clare, the daughter of Penguin Books founder Allen Lane, cut the ribbon marking the book vending machine officially open. Cake and champagne were also available to celebrate the event.

Clare said: 'I am delighted to have been invited to unveil the new Penguin Vending Machine at Exeter St David’s station. Nearly 90 years ago, at the same station, my father, Allen Lane, was inspired to start a publishing revolution. His aim was to make buying a book as easy as buying a packet of cigarettes. He would have been tickled pink by the Penguin Vending Machine. And he loved being tickled pink!' 

Sir Michael added: 'It took 70 years of writing, let’s call it an apprenticeship, to be published by Puffin. It makes me quite an aged Penguin group author, but very proud that I’m there amongst all those luminaries who have written for such a great and certainly unique, publishing house. I should say that I write for pleasure, my own pleasure and love to share it if I can with my readers. It’s why I go on writing because reading is so important to a young child’s life.'

Installed less than a month ago, over 200 books have already been sold from the machine. Profits from the vending machine will support Exeter City of Literature, a charity that champions stories and storytellers locally and globally, and Bookbag, a beloved local independent bookstore.

Read more about the event and Michael and Clare Morpurgo in next week's Times.