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Raymond Briggs (b. 1934-2022)


Raymond Briggs was born in Wimbledon, London, and left school at fifteen to study painting at the Wimbledon School of Art. He went on to study typography at the Central School of Art and painting at the Slade School. When he graduated in 1957 he immediately started writing and illustrating, and in 1961 also began work as a part-time lecturer in illustration at Brighton Polytechnic.


After a brief spell in advertising he fully concentrated on writing and illustrating children's books. His first full-colour book of rhymes, Ring-A-Ring O'Roses, was published in 1962. Followed by Fee Fi Fo Fum (1964), The Mother Goose Treasury (1966), Jim and The Beanstalk (1970) and The Fairy Tale Treasury (1972).


Evident from all these early books Raymond both writes and illustrates, he himself once said "the whole point of illustration is that it is literary. If it is not, it remains a drawing only". But it was in 1973, with the publication of Father Christmas that Raymond Briggs' unique and distinctive 'comic strip' style became established. Father Christmas was portrayed as a rather grumpy, discontented, and above all 'human' figure.


However, it was very successful, and so was followed Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (1975). Raymond's other work includes Fungus The Bogeyman (1977), Gentleman Jim (1980) and the more adult, satire of nuclear war When The Wind Blows (1982). Raymond won the Francis Williams Award for Best Children's Book in 1982 with The Snowman, written in 1982, which has become a year-round favourite and one of the most popular picture books ever published.

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