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Raymond Briggs, author and illustrator of The Snowman, passes away

Raymond Briggs – the much loved author and illustrator of 1978 classic, The Snowman – passed away on Tuesday 9 August.

Born in Wimbledon in 1934, Raymond’s books also included Father Christmas (1973), Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (1975), Fungus the Bogeyman (1977), When the Wind Blows (1982) and The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman (1984).

His parents – Ethel and Ernest – informed the stories of Father Christmas (with his father’s anti-social hours as a milkman are reflected in Father Christmas’ work) and When the Wind Blows, as well as the story of their lives: Ethel & Ernest (1998). The graphic novel told the story of how his father, a milkman, met his mother, a lady’s maid, and how they lived together in the same house for 41 years.

An animated feature film based on the novel was released in 2016.

The Snowman was originally published in 1978 as a wordless picture book, going on to sell over 5.5 million copies in various formats around the world. The animated version was first broadcast on Boxing Day in 1982 in Channel 4’s inaugural year and has been shown every Christmas since.

“I am very proud that Puffin has been the home of Raymond’s children’s books for so many years,” commented Francesca Dow, md of Penguin Random House Children’s. “Raymond’s books are picture masterpieces that address some of the fundamental questions of what it is to be human, speaking to both adults and children with a remarkable economy of words and illustrations.

“Raymond was unique. He has inspired generations of creators of picture books, graphic novels and animations. He leaves an extraordinary legacy, and a big hole.”

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