Children's author Roald Dahl wrote the kids' classics 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' 'Matilda' and 'James and the Giant Peach,' among other famous works.

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Who Was Roald Dahl?

Roald Dahl was a British author who penned 19 children's books over his decades-long writing career. In 1953 he published the best-selling story collection Someone Like You and married actress Patricia Neal. He published the popular book James and the Giant Peach in 1961. In 1964 he released another highly successful work, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , which was later adapted for two films.

Early Life and Education

Dahl was born in Llandaff, South Wales, on September 13, 1916. Dahl's parents were Norwegian. As a child, he spent his summer vacations visiting with his grandparents in Oslo. When Dahl was four years old, his father died.

The young Dahl received his earliest education at Llandaff Cathedral School. When the principal gave him a harsh beating for playing a practical joke, Dahl's mother decided to enroll her rambunctious and mischievous child at St. Peter's, a British boarding school, as had been her husband's wish.

Dahl later transferred to Repton, a private school with a reputation for academic excellence. He resented the rules at Repton; while there, the lively and imaginative youngster was restless and ached for adventure.

While Dahl hardly excelled as a student, his mother offered to pay for his tuition at Oxford or Cambridge University when he graduated. Dahl's response, as quoted from his autobiography, Boy: Tales of Childhood , was, "No thank you. I want to go straight from school to work for a company that will send me to wonderful faraway places like Africa or China."

And that he did. After Dahl graduated from Repton in 1932, he went on an expedition to Newfoundland. Afterward, he took a job with the Shell Oil Company in Tanzania, Africa, where he remained until 1939.

Over his decades-long writing career, Dahl composed 19 children’s books. Despite their popularity, Dahl’s children’s books have been the subject of some controversy, as critics and parents have balked at their portrayal of children’s harsh revenge on adult wrongdoers. In his defense, Dahl claimed that children have a cruder sense of humor than adults, and that he was merely trying to appeal to his readers.

'James and the Giant Peach' (1961)

Dahl first established himself as a children’s writer in 1961, when he published the book James and the Giant Peach , a book about a lonely little boy living with his two mean aunts who meets the Old Green Grasshopper and his insect friends on a giant, magical peach. The book met with wide critical and commercial acclaim.

'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' (1964)

Three years after his first children’s book, Dahl published another big winner, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory . A quirky, solitary businessman, Willy Wonka, has been holed up alone inside his fantastical chocolate factory until he releases five golden tickets inside the wrappers of candy bars. Winners — including the poor little boy Charlie Bucket, who doesn’t have much to eat — are awarded a visit. Some critics have accused Dahl of portraying a racist stereotype with his Oompa-Loompa characters in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

'Fantastic Mr. Fox' (1970)

Three farmers are out to get the cunning trickster Mr. Fox, who outwits them every time. Mr. Fox lives in a tree with his wife and family, which was inspired by a real 150-year beech tree Dahl knew as the “witches tree” standing outside his house.

'The BFG' (1982)

Of his many stories, Roald Dahl said The BFG was his favorite. He came up with the idea for a giant who stores dreams in bottles for kids to enjoy when they sleep several years before, and he told the story of the Big Friendly Giant to his own kids at bedtime.

'The Witches' (1983)

A boy happens upon a witch convention, where the witches are planning to get rid of every last child in England. The boy and his grandmother must battle the witches to save the children.

'Matilda' (1988)

Roald Dahl’s last long story follows the adventures of a genius five-year-old girl, Matilda Wormwood, who uses her powers to help her beloved teacher outwit the cruel headmistress.

Dahl wrote several television and movie scripts. Several film adaptations of his books have also been created (all of those made during his lifetime Dahl famously despised), most notably:

'Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' (1971)

This Dahl favorite, originally known as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a book, starred Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. An originally titled remake of the film, starring Johnny Depp , was released in 2005.

'The BFG' (1989, 2016)

The BFG was first made into a stop-motion animated film in 1989, with David Jason playing the voice of the Big Friendly Giant. The movie was remade in 2016 by Steven Spielberg and featured live actors.

'The Witches' (1990)

In this live-action film features Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch. Rowan Atkinson also appeared as hotel manager Mr. Stringer.

'Matilda' (1996)

Danny DeVito directed this movie adaptation and also voiced the narrator.

'The Fantastic Mr. Fox' (2009)

In 2009, Wes Anderson directed this quirky, touching animated feature about the adventures of the farm-raiding Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney ), with a cast including Meryl Streep (Mrs. Fox) and Bill Murray (Badger).

'The Witches' (2020)

Another live-action film of the book starring Anne Hathaway .

Short Stories

Dahl began his writing career with short stories; in all, he published nine short story collections. Dahl first caught the writing bug while in Washington, D.C., when he met with author C.S. Forrester, who encouraged him to start writing. Dahl published his first short story in the Saturday Evening Post . He went on to write stories and articles for other magazines, including The New Yorker .

Of his early writing career, Dahl told New York Times book reviewer Willa Petschek, "As I went on the stories became less and less realistic and more fantastic." He went on to describe his foray into writing as a "pure fluke," saying, "Without being asked to, I doubt if I'd ever have thought to do it."

Dahl wrote his first story for children, The Gremlins , in 1942, for Walt Disney . The story wasn't terribly successful, so Dahl went back to writing macabre and mysterious stories geared toward adult readers. He continued in this vein into the 1950s, producing the best-selling story collection Someone Like You in 1953, and Kiss, Kiss in 1959.

Wives and Children

The same year that Someone Like You was published, Dahl married film actress Patricia Neal, who won an Academy Award for her role in Hud in 1961. The marriage lasted three decades and resulted in five children, one of whom tragically died in 1962.

Dahl told his children nightly bedtime stories that inspired his future career as a children's writer. These stories became the basis for some of his most popular kids' books, as his children proved an informative test audience. "Children are ... highly critical. And they lose interest so quickly," he asserted in his New York Times book review interview. “You have to keep things ticking along. And if you think a child is getting bored, you must think up something that jolts it back. Something that tickles. You have to know what children like."

After Neal suffered from multiple brain hemorrhages in the mid-1960s, Dahl stood by her through her long recovery. The couple would eventually divorce in 1983. Soon after, Dahl married Felicity Ann Crosland, his partner until his death in 1990.

Dahl died on November 23, 1990, at the age of 74. After suffering an unspecified infection, on November 12, 1990, Dahl had been admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England.


  • Name: Roald Dahl
  • Birth Year: 1916
  • Birth date: September 13, 1916
  • Birth City: Llandaff, South Wales
  • Birth Country: United Kingdom
  • Gender: Male
  • Best Known For: Children's author Roald Dahl wrote the kids' classics 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' 'Matilda' and 'James and the Giant Peach,' among other famous works.
  • Writing and Publishing
  • Astrological Sign: Virgo
  • Interesting Facts
  • Of the films that were adapted from his books during his lifetime, Roald Dahl came to despise them.
  • Of his many stories, Roald Dahl said 'The BFG' was his favorite.
  • Death Year: 1990
  • Death date: November 23, 1990
  • Death City: Oxford
  • Death Country: United Kingdom

We strive for accuracy and fairness.If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us !

  • Children are ... highly critical. And they lose interest so quickly. You have to keep things ticking along. And if you think a child is getting bored, you must think up something that jolts it back. Something that tickles. You have to know what children like.
  • As I went on, the stories became less and less realistic and more fantastic. But becoming a writer was pure fluke. Without being asked to, I doubt if I'd ever have thought of it.
  • A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
  • The writer for children must be a jokey sort of a fellow. He must like simple tricks and jokes and riddles and other childish things. He must be ... inventive. He must have a really first-class plot.

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Roald Dahl quick bio

Do you know Roald Dahl, the author of lots of great kids books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ? Find out about his life in this video!

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Little Roald was born on the 13th of September 1916. 

As a kid, he wasn't particularly known for his writing! But many of his childhood experiences came to inspire his stories years later. For instance, a chocolate maker used to taste-test their new products at Roald's school, and he used to dream of inventing a new chocolate bar! Hmm, sound familiar?

But before becoming an author, Roald Dahl was actually a fighter pilot in World War Two, and later a spy for MI6, working alongside Ian Fleming – the man who created James Bond!

Oh, hello, Ian.

Hello, Roald.

It wasn't until 1943 that Dahl put pencil to his favourite yellow paper and published his first kids' book, The Gremlins , a tale of naughty creatures that cause mechanical problems on planes! Dahl went on to write 16 other kids' books, selling more than 200 million copies worldwide.

Have you read any books by Roald Dahl? Which other books do you like? Tell us about them!

I have read Matilda (and I have watch the movie), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and I also watched the movie ), Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, The Witches, George's Marvellous Medicine, and Danny, the Champion of the World!!! :D

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Biography of Roald Dahl, British Novelist

The Memorable Author of Iconic Children's Novels

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  • M.F.A, Dramatic Writing, Arizona State University
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Roald Dahl (September 13, 1916–November 23, 1990) was a British writer. After serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II , he became a world-famous author, particularly due to his best-selling books for children.

Fast Facts: Roald Dahl

  • Known For:  English author of children's novels and adult short stories
  • Born:  September 13, 1916 in Cardiff, Wales
  • Parents:  Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Dahl ( née  Hesselberg)
  • Died:  November 23, 1990 in Oxford, England
  • Education:  Repton School
  • Selected Works:   James and the Giant Peach (1961), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964), Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970), The BFG (1982), Matilda (1988)
  • Spouses:  Patricia Neal (m. 1953-1983), Felicity Crosland (m. 1983)
  • Children:  Olivia Twenty Dahl, Chantal Sophia "Tessa" Dahl, Theo Matthew Dahl, Ophelia Magdalena Dahl, Lucy Neal Dahl
  • Notable Quote:  “Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”

Dahl was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1916, in the district of Llandaff. His parents were Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Dahl (née Hesselberg), both of whom were Norwegian immigrants. Harold had originally immigrated from Norway in the 1880s and lived in Cardiff with his French first wife, with whom he had two children (a daughter, Ellen, and a son, Louis) before her death in 1907. Sofie immigrated later and married Harold in 1911. They had five children, Roald and his four sisters Astri, Alfhild, Else, and Asta, all of whom they raised Lutheran. In 1920, Astri died suddenly of appendicitis, and Harold died of pneumonia only weeks later; Sofie was pregnant with Asta at the time. Instead of returning to her family in Norway, she stayed in the UK, wanting to follow her husband’s wishes to give their children an English education.

As a boy, Dahl was sent to an English public boarding school , St. Peter’s. He was intensely unhappy during his time there, but never let his mother know how he felt about it. In 1929, he moved to Repton School in Derbyshire, which he found equally unpleasant due to the culture of intense hazing and the cruelty with which older students dominated and bullied the younger ones; his hatred for corporal punishment stemmed from his school experiences. One of the cruel headmasters he loathed, Geoffrey Fisher, later became the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the association somewhat soured Dahl on religion.

Surprisingly, he was not noted as a particularly talented writer during his schoolboy days; in fact, many of his evaluations reflected precisely the opposite. He did enjoy literature, as well as sports and photography. Another of his iconic creations was sparked by his schooling experiences: the Cadbury chocolate company occasionally sent samples of new products to be tested by Repton students, and Dahl’s imagination of new chocolate creations would later turn into his famous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory . He graduated in 1934 and took a job with the Shell Petroleum Company; he was sent as an oil supplier to Kenya and Tanganyika (modern-day Tanzania).

World War II Pilot

In 1939, Dahl was first commissioned by the army to lead a platoon of indigenous troops as World War II broke out . Soon after, however, he switched to the Royal Air Force , despite having very little experience as a pilot, and underwent months of training before he was deemed fit for combat in the fall of 1940. His first mission, however, went badly awry. After being given instructions that later proved to be inaccurate, he wound up crashing in the Egyptian desert and suffering serious injuries that took him out of combat for several months. He did manage to return to combat in 1941. During this time, he had five aerial victories, which qualified him as a flying ace, but by September 1941, severe headaches and blackouts led to him being invalided home.

Dahl attempted to qualify as an RAF training officer, but instead wound up accepting the post of assistant air attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. Although unimpressed and uninterested with his diplomatic posting, he became acquainted with C.S. Forester, a British novelist who was tasked with producing Allied propaganda for American audiences. Forester asked Dahl to write down some of his war experiences to be turned into a story, but when he received Dahl’s manuscript, he instead published it as Dahl had written it. He wound up working with other authors, including David Ogilvy and Ian Fleming, to help promote British war interests, and worked in espionage as well, at one point passing information from Washington to Winston Churchill himself.

The knack for children’s stories that would make Dahl famous first appeared during the war as well. In 1943, he published The Gremlins , turning an inside joke in the RAF (“gremlins” were to blame for any aircraft problems) into a popular story that counted Eleanor Roosevelt and Walt Disney among its fans. When the war ended, Dahl had held the rank of wing commander and squadron leader. Several years after the end of the war, in 1953, he married Patricia Neal, an American actress. They had five children: four daughters and one son.

Short Stories (1942-1960)

  • "A Piece of Cake" (published as "Shot Down Over Libya," 1942)
  • The Gremlins (1943)
  • Over to You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying (1946)
  • Sometime Never: A Fable for Superman (1948)
  • Someone Like You (1953)
  • Kiss Kiss (1960)

Dahl’s writing career began in 1942 with his wartime story. Originally, he wrote it with the title “A Piece of Cake,” and it was bought by The Saturday Evening Post for the substantial sum of $1,000. In order to be more dramatic for war propaganda purposes, however, it was renamed “Shot Down Over Libya,” even though Dahl had not, in fact, been shot down, let alone over Libya. His other major contribution to the war effort was The Gremlins , his first work for children. Originally, it was optioned by Walt Disney for an animated film , but a variety of production obstacles (problems with ensuring the rights to the idea of “gremlins” were open, issues with creative control and RAF involvement) led to the project’s eventual abandonment.

As the war came to an end, he kicked off a career writing short stories, mostly for adults and mostly published originally in a variety of American magazines. In the waning years of the war, many of his short stories remained focused on the war, the war effort, and propaganda for the Allies. First published in 1944 in Harper’s Bazaar , “Beware of the Dog” became one of Dahl’s most successful war stories and eventually was loosely adapted into two different movies.

In 1946, Dahl published his first short story collection. Entitled Over to You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying , the collection includes most of his war-era short stories . They’re notably different from the more famous works he’d later write; these stories were clearly rooted in the wartime setting and were more realistic and less quirky. He also tackled his first (of what would only be two) adult novels in 1948. Some Time Never: A Fable for Supermen was a work of dark speculative fiction, combining the premise of his children’s story The Gremlins with a dystopian future imagining worldwide nuclear war. It was largely a failure and has never been reprinted in English. Dahl returned to short stories, publishing two consecutive short story collections: Someone Like You in 1953 and Kiss Kiss in 1960.

Family Struggles and Children’s Stories (1960-1980)

  • James and the Giant Peach (1961)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
  • The Magic Finger (1966)
  • Twenty-Nine Kisses from Roald Dahl (1969)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970)
  • Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (1972)
  • Switch Bitch (1974)
  • Danny the Champion of the World (1975)
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More (1978)
  • The Enormous Crocodile (1978)
  • The Best of Roald Dahl (1978)
  • My Uncle Oswald (1979)
  • Tales of the Unexpected (1979)
  • The Twits (1980)
  • More Tales of the Unexpected (1980)

The beginning of the decade included some devastating events for Dahl and his family. In 1960, his son Theo’s baby carriage was hit by a car, and Theo nearly died. He suffered from hydrocephalus, so Dahl collaborated with engineer Stanley Wade and neurosurgeon Kenneth Till to invent a valve that could be used to improve treatment. Less than two years later, Dahl's daughter, Olivia, died at age seven from measles encephalitis. As a result, Dahl became a staunch proponent of vaccinations and he also began questioning his faith—a well-known anecdote explained that Dahl was dismayed at an archbishop’s remark that Olivia’s beloved dog could not join her in heaven and began questioning whether or not the Church really was so infallible. In 1965, his wife Patricia suffered three burst cerebral aneurysms during her fifth pregnancy, requiring her to relearn basic skills like walking and talking; she did recover and eventually returned to her acting career.

Meanwhile, Dahl was becoming more and more involved in writing novels for children. James and the Giant Peach , published in 1961, became his first iconic children’s book, and the decade saw several more publications that would go on to endure for years. His 1964 novel, though, would be arguably his most famous: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory . The book received two film adaptations, one in 1971 and one in 2005, and a sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator , in 1972. In 1970, Dahl published The Fantastic Mr. Fox , another of his more famous children’s stories.

During this time, Dahl continued to turn out short story collections for adults as well. Between 1960 and 1980, Dahl published eight short story collections, including two “best of” style collections. My Uncle Oswald , published in 1979, was a novel using the same character of the lecherous “Uncle Oswald” who featured in a few of his earlier short stories for adults. He also continuously published new novels for children, which soon surpassed the success of his adult works. In the 1960s, he also briefly worked as a screenwriter, most notably adapting two Ian Fleming novels into films: the James Bond caper You Only Live Twice and the children’s movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang .

Later Stories for Both Audiences (1980-1990)

  • George's Marvelous Medicine (1981)
  • The BFG (1982)
  • The Witches (1983)
  • The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (1985)
  • Two Fables (1986)
  • Matilda (1988)
  • Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life: The Country Stories of Roald Dahl (1989)
  • Esio Trot (1990)
  • The Vicar of Nibbleswick (1991)
  • The Minpins (1991)

By the early 1980s, Dahl’s marriage to Neal was falling apart. They divorced in 1983, and Dahl remarried that same year to Felicity d’Abreu Crosland, an ex-girlfriend. Around the same time, he caused some controversy with his remarks centered on Tony Clifton's picture book  God Cried , which depicted the siege of West Beirut by Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War. His comments at the time were widely interpreted as antisemitic , although others in his circle interpreted his anti-Israel comments as non-malicious and more targeted at the conflicts with Israel.

Among his most famous later stories are 1982’s The BFG and 1988’s Matilda . The latter book was adapted into a much-beloved film in 1996, as well as an acclaimed stage musical in 2010 on the West End and 2013 on Broadway. The last book released while Dahl was still alive was Esio Trot , a surprisingly sweet children’s novel about a lonely old man trying to connect with a woman he has fallen in love with from afar.

Literary Styles and Themes

Dahl was far and away best known for his very particular and unique approach to children’s literature . Certain elements in his books are easily traced to his ugly experiences at boarding school during his youth: villainous, terrifying adults in positions of power who hate children, precocious and observant children as protagonists and narrators, school settings, and plenty of imagination. Although the boogeymen of Dahl’s childhood certainly made plenty of appearances—and, crucially, were always defeated by the children—he also tended to write token “good” adults as well.

Despite being famous for writing for children, Dahl’s sense of style is famously a unique hybrid of the whimsical and the gleefully macabre. It’s a distinctively child-centric approach, but one with a subversive undertone to its obvious warmth. The details of his antagonists’ villainy are often described in childlike but nightmarish detail, and the comic threads in stories such as Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are laced with dark or even violent moments. Gluttony is a particular target for Dahl’s sharply violent retribution, with several notably fat characters in his canon receiving disturbing or violent ends.

Dahl’s language is notable for its playful style and intentional malapropisms . His books are littered with new words of his own invention, often created by switching around letters or mix-and-matching existing sounds to make words that still made sense, even though they weren’t real words. In 2016, for the centenary of Dahl's birth, lexicographer Susan Rennie created  The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary , a guide to his invented words and their “translations” or meanings.

Near the end of his life, Dahl was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare cancer of the blood, typically affecting older patients, that occurs when blood cells do not “mature” into healthy blood cells. Roald Dahl died on November 23, 1990, in Oxford, England. He was buried at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Great Missenden, in Buckinghamshire, England, in a fittingly unusual fashion: he was buried with some chocolates and wine, pencils, his favorite pool cues, and a power saw. To this day, his grave remains a popular site, where children and adults alike pay tribute by leaving flowers and toys.

Dahl’s legacy largely dwells in the enduring power of his children’s books. Several of his most famous works have been adapted into several different media, from film and television to radio to stage. It’s not just his literary contributions that have continued to have an impact, though. After his death, his widow Felicity continued his charitable work through the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity, which supports children with various illnesses throughout the UK. In 2008, the UK charity Booktrust and Children's Laureate Michael Rosen joined forces to create The Roald Dahl Funny Prize, awarded annually to authors of humorous children's fiction. Dahl’s particular brand of humor and his sophisticated yet approachable voice for children’s fiction have left an indelible mark.

  • Boothroyd, Jennifer.  Roald Dahl: A Life of Imagination . Lerner Publications, 2008.
  • Shavick, Andrea.  Roald Dahl: The Champion Storyteller . Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Sturrock, Donald.  Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl , Simon & Schuster, 2010.
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Roald Dahl

  • Born September 13 , 1916 · Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • Died November 23 , 1990 · Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK (leukemia)
  • Height 6′ 6″ (1.98 m)
  • Dahl was born in Wales in 1916. He served as a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II. He made a forced landing in the Libyan Desert and was severely injured. As a result, he spent five months in a Royal Navy hospital in Alexandria. Dahl is noted for how he relates suspenseful and sometimes horrific events in a simple tone. - IMDb Mini Biography By: Matt Dicker
  • Roald Dahl was a famous short story writer who became one of the most successful and beloved children's writers of all time. He also wrote several screenplays. Born in Wales to Norwegian parents, he attended British schools, but never went to university, opting to go work for the Shell Oil Company instead. He worked there for a few years, but when World War II started, he joined the RAF. While assistant air attaché in Washington DC, he began writing, which after the war became his life-long vocation. He wrote two novels, two autobiographies, nineteen children's books, and many short story collections, the most notable being Kiss Kiss (1959) and Switch Bitch (1974). He died of leukemia in 1990. - IMDb Mini Biography By: Hein Haraldson Berg
  • Spouses Liccy Dahl (December 15, 1983 - November 23, 1990) (his death) Patricia Neal (July 2, 1953 - November 17, 1983) (divorced, 5 children)
  • Relatives Sophie Dahl (Grandchild)
  • Gluttonous characters: Augustus Gloop from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Bruno Jenkins from The Witches, Boggis from Fantastic Mr Fox and Bruce Bogtrotter from Matilda.
  • Main characters are often children.
  • Villains are often adults who hate children
  • Orphans; James from James and the Giant Peach, the main character from The Witches and Sophie from The BFG.
  • His villains are often extremely ugly
  • His only son, Theo Dahl , suffered a brain injury when his baby carriage was struck by a taxi when the boy was just four months old. The most serious of his injuries was hydrocephalus (commonly known as water on the brain). Dahl got together with a pair of friends--a neurosurgeon and an engineer--and created a device called the Wade-Dahl-Till valve to alleviate cranial pressure. Theo recovered before the device was perfected, but it allowed thousands of others suffering from hydrocephalus to recover from their injuries. His book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is dedicated to Theo, who almost died.
  • When his first wife, Patricia Neal , suffered a series of devastating strokes in 1965, he was appalled at the lack of effective rehabilitation. He subsequently designed techniques that restored her to full functionality after doctors had told him she would never recover. His techniques are now standard procedure throughout the world in the treatment of stroke victims.
  • Wrote his novels in his garden shed.
  • Was never seen as a particularly talented writer in his school years, with one of his English teachers writing in his school report, "I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended".
  • Wrote two screenplays based on books by Ian Fleming : You Only Live Twice (1967) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) . Coincidentally, Fleming's cousin, Christopher Lee , appears in the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) , based on Dahl's book. He also appears in Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) , which is named after a word Dahl coined.
  • [when asked what the his formula for success was as an author of children's books] Conspiring with children against adults.
  • [1988 interview with Todd McCormack] When you're writing a book, with people in it as opposed to animals, it is no good having people who are ordinary, because they are not going to interest your readers at all. Every writer in the world has to use the characters that have something interesting about them and this is even more true in children's books. I find that the only way to make my characters really interesting to children is to exaggerate all their good or bad qualities, and so if a person is nasty or bad or cruel, you make them very nasty, very bad, very cruel. If they are ugly, you make them extremely ugly. That, I think, is fun and makes an impact.
  • A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
  • A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.
  • A writer of fiction lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.

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short biography roald dahl

  • The Gremlins (1943)
  • James and the Giant Peach (1961)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
  • The Magic Finger (1966)
  • Fantastic Mr Fox (1970)
  • Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (1972)
  • Danny, the Champion of the World (1975)
  • The Enormous Crocodile (1978)
  • The Twits (1980)
  • George's Marvellous Medicine (1981)
  • The BFG (1982)
  • The Witches (1983)
  • The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (1985)
  • Matilda (1988)
  • Esio Trot (1989)
  • The Vicar of Nibbleswicke (1990)
  • The Minpins (1991)
  • Dahl wrote two autobiographies. The first was called Boy and covered his childhood up to the age of 20. The second was Going Solo where he talks about his first jobs and his experiences as a fighter pilot in WWII.
  • Roald was married to Hollywood actress Patricia Neal.
  • He kept a diary as a child and hid it up at the top of a tree so his sisters couldn't get to it.
  • He was 6 feet 6 inches tall!
  • His favorite color was yellow and his favorite food was caviar.
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Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was a British novelist, writer of short stories, screen writer and fighter pilot. He was born in Wales in 13th September 1916. Before writing he also served in the Air Force and fought in the World War two. He was a flying ace and also an intelligence agent. Known as one of the greatest storytellers for children, he was in the list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’.

Dahl went to The Cathedral School where corporal punishment was common. He also became victim to it several times for his mischievousness. As his father had considered English schools to be the best even after his death his mother abided by his wishes. He was then put into boarding school in England named Saint Peters. His time in Saint Peters is mentioned in his autobiography ‘Boy: Tales of Childhood’. In 1929 Dahl was shifted to Repton School in Derbyshire. This was where his writing skills first became noticed by his English teacher who said:

“I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended.”

While he was studying at Repton, the chocolate company ‘Cadbury’ would send boxes of chocolate to there to get tasted. This is where Dahl took inspiration for his most notable work ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ which was published in 1963. Taking inspiration from his life incidence and people he met is very common in his writings. Another example of such inspiration is in his book ‘The Witches’ published in 1983 in which the main character is a Norwegian boy.

In 1934 he started working at the Shell Petroleum Company. After training two years in the UK he transferred to Kenya and then Daar-es-Salaam where he lived a very luxurious life due to his job. After serving in the Second World War, he married Patricia Neal in 1953. They remained married for thirty years and had five children after which they got divorced. His married life was filled with many unfortunate incidences such as the terrible accident of his four month old son and death of his seven years old daughter. His five had three burst cerebral aneurysms while pregnant for the fifth time. After his divorce Dahl married Felicity Crosland.

Dahl’s books involve imagination and fantasy and they were humorous too. His first book for children was ‘The Gremlins’. His book most loved by children is ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. This was made into two films; one was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ in 1971 and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ in 2005. Another famous work is ‘Matilda’ published in 1988 which was made into a movie in 1988. Some other books of Dahl are Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970) and the movie in 2009, ‘The Minpins’ (1991), ‘The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me’ (1985). Some short story collections are ‘Roald Book of Ghost Stories’ (1983), ‘Two Fables’ (1986), ‘The Roald Dahl Treasury’ (1997).

Roald Dahl died on 23rd November 1990 due to a blood disease in Oxford, England. There is a Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery opened in his honor.

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short biography roald dahl

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