Meet the creative team behind Biff, Chip and Kipper at the High Sheriff's Cheshire Prize for Literature 2017 Awards Evening

Posted on 16th November 2017

Children and their parents and guardians are being given a rare opportunity to hear from the award-winning author and illustrator team responsible for bringing the much-loved characters Biff, Chip and Kipper to classrooms and homes around the country, and further afield.

Alex Brychta MBE and Rod Hunt MBE, the award-winning illustrator and author of the Oxford Reading Tree series for children. Photograph: Oxford University Press.
Alex Brychta MBE and Rod Hunt MBE, the award-winning illustrator and author of the Oxford Reading Tree series for children. Photograph: Oxford University Press.

Rod Hunt MBE and Alex Brychta MBE are special guests at this year's High Sheriff's Cheshire Prize for Literature 2017 awards evening, which takes place on Wednesday, November 22 at 7pm, at the University of Chester’s Riverside Campus.

Rod and Alex are the team behind The Oxford Reading Tree series, which is arguably the most widely used reading scheme in the world (and celebrated its 30th birthday last year). It is enjoyed by children in 85% of UK schools, and in over 130 countries worldwide. Since its launch, it is estimated that more than 30 million children have learnt to read with The Oxford Reading Tree. The stories have been translated into over 15 languages including Welsh, Spanish, Afrikaans, German, Turkish and Norwegian and there are Chinese and Far-East editions for ESL (English Second Language) teaching.

Rod is also an alumnus of the former Chester College and received an honorary degree from the University of Chester last November.

This year’s Cheshire Prize for Literature competition is for Children’s Literature and is supported by the University’s Faculty of Education and Children’s Services. The intended readership is seven to 14-year-old children. The Competition is always open to residents of Cheshire, Warrington, Wirral and Halton including those who have ever lived, worked or studied in the area.

On the awards evening, as well as a prize of £2,000 for the winner, additional prize money of £750 will be awarded. The best entries will be published in an anthology.

Before announcing the winner of this year's competition, Rod and Alex will take a light hearted look at the way they work together to create the stories and how they achieve the gentle humour, which is one of the hallmarks of the series. They will also be happy to sign books during a brief interval.

Head judge Simon Poole, who is the Programme Leader for the MA in Creative Practices in Education at the University, and Senior Lead for Cultural Education and Research at Storyhouse, said:

“This year’s High Sheriff's Cheshire Prize for Literature awards evening promises to be an extra special event, not only for those who participated, but also for our authors of the future. Biff, Chip and Kipper will be familiar to many households, and, for the first time in the competition’s history, we are looking forward to welcoming children to attend and be inspired and motivated by those who created them.

“We are particularly pleased to be welcoming our alumnus, Dr Roderick Hunt, MBE, whose own outstanding contribution to the development of literacy in children is an inspiration. Roderick attended the then Chester College in the late 1950s and we are pleased to say that this talk is just one of the many ways he retains his connection with the University.”

A drinks reception will take place before the event, starting at 6.30pm on the first floor of the University’s Riverside Building.

All tickets cost just £3 and can be purchased from the online shop or by sending payment (cheques should be made payable to University of Chester) and a stamped addressed envelope, to: Corporate Communications, University of Chester, Parkgate Road, Chester, CH1 4BJ. For more information, you can also phone: 01244 511344.

Children are warmly welcomed, but must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times.

The High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature has been running for 14 years, having been set up in 2003 by the then High Sheriff of Cheshire, John Richards OBE, DL.

Details can be found at: http://www.chester.ac.uk/literatureprize