Author Interview

Author’s Corner: Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was born on 13th September, 1916 in Cardiff, Wales; Yes! that is 102 years ago. And we all love Roald Dahl’s stories. Roald Dahl makes heroes from unlikely children – orphans, poor kids and bullied students. His first children’s book, The Gremlins, was published in 1943. But Dahl’s first published work was ‘A Piece of Cake’ about his war-time adventures. It was published by The Saturday Evening Post in 1942 under the title “Shot Down Over Libya“. He became famous after writing some remarkable books for children like Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and many more…

Roald Dahl’s books has fantasy world, horror and folklore; but the special thing about his books are that he often creates heroes of the stories from very ordinary children. In his books, poor kids, orphans and bullied children spoke about what they wanted. They stood up for their rights, overcame the mythical beasts and ticked off the unkind adults. Though his books have violent actions, they are very funny at the same time. He narrates the story the way kids view parents, teachers and other adults.

Roald Dahl uses the language that has no boundaries. He creates new words but keeps the basic structure of English like Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Dr. Suess has done. Dahl’s characters speak in anagrams, portmanteaus, alliteration and onomatopoeia– but the words used for them are Dahl’s own. He writes “bish” instead of “ruin” or “churgle” instead of “laugh”. It can be a secret language among Roald Dahl fans! That’s not all, from zozimus and giganticus to catasterous and oompa-loompas , he has come up with lots of amazing words.

Lesser known facts about Roald Dahl:

  • His parents were Norwegian and named him after Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian explorer , who was the first person to reach the South Pole in 1911.
  • His inspiration for Charlie And The Chocolate Factory came from his time at Repton School where Cadbury’s sent new chocolates for testing.
  • He was caned for putting a dead mouse in a jar of sweets at his first school in Llandaff .
  • Roald Dahl was a fighter pilot in the WWII, and then worked for MI6 with Ian Fleming.
  • He wrote screenplays for Ian Fleming’s books You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang .
  • He invented the language he called Gobblefunk including words such as “snozzcumber”….but the only word in the OED for which Dahl is credited as the first to use is “Oompa Loompa”.
  • When his five-year old son suffered a road accident in 1960, Dahl was co-inventor of the Wade-Dahl-Till valve, used to drain excess fluid from the brain.
  • Dahl was voted all-time best storyteller, ahead of Dickens and Shakespeare in a 2001 UK poll

Roald Dahl’s Books and other published works:

  • The Gremlins (1943)
  • Over To You (1946)
  • Some Time Never (1948)
  • Someone Like You (1953)
  • Kiss Kiss (1960)
  • James and the Giant Peach (1961)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
  • The Magic Finger (1966)
  • Fantastic Mr Fox (1968)
  • 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 (1977)
  • The Enormous Crocodile (1978)
  • My Uncle Oswald (1979)
  • The Twits (1980)
  • George’s Marvellous Medicine (1981)
  • Revolting Rhymes (1982)
  • The BFG (1982)
  • Dirty Beasts (1983)
  • The Witches (1983)
  • Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories (1983)
  • Boy: Tales of Childhood (1984)
  • The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (1985)
  • Two Fables (1985)
  • Going Solo (1986)
  • Matilda (1988)
  • Rhyme Stew (1989)
  • Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life (1989)
  • Esio Trot (1990)
  • The Vicar of Nibbleswicke (1991)
  • The Minpins (1991)
  • Roald Dahl’s Guide to Railway Safety (1991)
  • My Year (1991)

Play scripts and film screenplays

  • The Honeys (stage play, 1955)
  • You Only Live Twice (film screenplay, 1967)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (co-wrote film screenplay, 1968)
  • The Night Digger (film screenplay, 1971)
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (co-wrote film screenplay, 1971

Anthologies and collections co-written by Roald Dahl or inspired by his writings

  • The Roald Dahl Cookbook (1991)
  • Revolting Recipes (1994)
  • The Roald Dahl Treasury (1997)
  • Even More Revolting Recipes (2001)
  • Songs and Verse (2005)
  • More About Boy (2008)
  • Completely Revolting Recipes (2009)


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