Issue date: 20 July 2011
The University of the West of England will award the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters to Michael Rosen in recognition of his significant contribution to and impact on primary education and English literature.
The Honorary Degree will be conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Faculty of Creative Arts, Humanities and Education on Wednesday 20 July at Bristol Cathedral.
Born in Harrow, Michael Rosen graduated from Wadham College, Oxford, in 1969, with a degree in English, having initially taken up a place at the University of Oxford's Medical School. During his time in Oxford he was heavily involved in theatre work, and a play he wrote, Backbone, was performed at the Royal Court Theatre.
Michael went on to work for the BBC from 1970-1973, after which he studied at the National Film School for three years. During this time he wrote a number of children's poems. His first book for children, Mind Your Own Business was published in 1974.
On leaving the BBC Michael went freelance working on a number of projects, including the performance of his poems in schools, libraries and colleges. He has been, and remains, very interested in sharing his poems, and the potential of children's poetry, with trainee teachers.
Michael quickly established himself as a writer with a collection of humorous verse for children, including Wouldn't You Like to Know, You Tell Me and Quick Let's Get Out of Here. In 1993, Michael gained an MA in Children's Literature from the University of Reading and then a PhD from the University of North London (now London Metropolitan).
Michael's writing has earned him numerous awards including the Nestle Smarties Grand Prize for We're Going on a Bear Hunt. He was awarded a Sony Radio Academy Gold Award in 2003 for the Radio short form On Saying Goodbye. The English Association awarded Michael Rosen's Sad Book, illustrated by Quentin Blake, an Exceptional Award for the Best Children's Illustrated Books of 2004, in the 4-11 age range.
Michael Rosen was the Children's Laureate from 2007-2009, and in 2008 he was awarded the Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts and des Lettres by the French Government for his significant contribution to Arts and Literature.
As a writer, Michael continues to publish poetry books, text for picture books, short stories, novels and plays. As an editor, he has created poetry anthologies and edited numerous stories. Michael is the presenter to the BBC Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth, the magazine programme that looks at the English language and the way we use it. He also appears on television either reading books or talking about them.
Michael is currently a Visiting Professor of Children's Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London, where he developed and co-directs the MA in Children's Literature.