Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Roald Dahl

1916 - 1990

This one is for my kids because this is their favourite author. Roald Dahl. His Fantastic Mr Fox is part of their curriculum and that started them off on a Roald Dahl party. He is to them what Enid Blyton is to me.

As I’ve been writing this piece and sharing bits of information about their favourite author he’s risen in status from ‘cool writer’ to the ‘coolest man ever’. 

After all how many writers of kids’ stories can, in real life, boast

-- of writing all his novels with a pencil (just like them) because he didn't know how to type

-- of making it to the boxing, squash and football teams in school (boxing and football are BIG in our house

-- of being a fighter pilot, having survived a crash on duty then having gone back to flying and shooting down enemy planes

--- obeing a spy (isn't that cool?)

--- of marrying an actress and lastly...

--- of putting a dead mouse in a jar of sweets in a shop owned by a mean old lady.

I cannot but be impressed too.

Another thing that appealed specially to my son - he wrote a diary and, so his sisters wouldn't get at it, he'd hide it on a tree higher than they could climb!


The beginning

Dahl hardly distinguished himself at writing during his school days. One of his English teachers wrote in his report, “I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended.” However, he did have a passion for Literature along with a love for sports and photography.

He had a very successful stint as a fighter pilot and was quite a James Bond in real life. A book on him written by Donald Sturcock, claims he was a young, handsome and dashing RAF officer and had a whole 'stable' of women! He worked for a secret service network in the US with other agents like Ian Fleming, the creator of Bond.

During his assignment at the British Embassy he met Writer CS Forester. Forester had been asked to do a story on Dahls’s flying experiences and asked him to jot down some anecdotes. Dahl did such a good job that Forester decided to publish the story as it was. And so he became a published author in 1942. A year later he did his first book for kids -The Gremlins. That kicked off his career as a children’s writer – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach and so many more books followed.

He also wrote stories for adults. These were often gruesome with unexpected endings.

He’s a favourite because

…his books are told from a child’s perspective. They often have clear white and black characters just the way kids like them. Also, he weaves in very real situations and gives them unreal twists that would seem plausible to a kid and that’s what makes for a huge fan following. 

He picked inspiration from his own life. The idea of Charlie’s Chcolate Factory came from the chocolate company Cadbury that would come to their school to test samples on the kids. Young Dahl would dream of making all kinds of fancy chocolates and the idea translated into the book.

If you want to know more about him do visit his official site roalddahl.com. It’s a great place to hang.
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As for tomorrow's author - should I, shouldn't I give this one away with a single simple clue? Oh well, we're all tired as the Challenge nears its end so simple it shall be. Here it is - you'll find her heroine bumming around in a mall. Yeah.. I've made it easy.
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This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, 2014 for the theme AMAZING AUTHORS.


Also linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge.


28 comments:

  1. Super choice. Fantastic Mr Fox is a book both my kids enjoyed heaps. I think I must've read it to them at least a hundred times ...

    "Boggis and Bunce and Bean one fat, one short, one lean. These horrible crooks so different in looks are nonetheless equally mean" is ingrained in my brain!

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    1. Isn't he funny? I love the way he rhymes. Remember the songs in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

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  2. Everything is nice and likeable about him except putting a dead mouse in chocolate jar to spite the mean lady!!
    A well written piece about an author I haven't read about being an old man.

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    1. Lol.. KP Believe me that's the one thing that appealed most to my son!

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  3. Oh...The Umbrella Man :) Superb review here :) How he made us love the chocolate factory with Charley :)

    And yes, Tulika, I'm ready to go shopping with Sophie :D

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    1. :-) Sreeja.. yes.. this would have been easy peasy for you.

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  4. Oh tomorrow is Kinsella, another favourite of mine :)

    RD is a classic. I never knew he was a spy! LOL at the hiding the diary in the tree ;)

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  5. I never read Dahl as a kid but I guess it's never late to pick a book. I love reading children's classic books :) And Sophie Kinsella is my favorite too as I love chicklit books :)

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  6. Love all his works. I grew up with his works and all of his works are as addictive as chocolates :D

    PhenoMenon
    http://throodalookingglass.com/2014/04/risotto/

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  7. I've never read Roald Dahl.

    What is really inspiring is that he became a successful writer after that negative remark by his English teacher.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, one should never let adverse comments bring one down.

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  8. Oh God I feel ashamed that I don't know about so many authors....

    R for Ready-Random Thoughts Naba

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    Replies
    1. Hey fun times ahead then! So much to discover.

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  9. he was a spy!!! now I love him even more :D he is one of my favorite writers :D

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  10. One of my English teachers' favorite writer!! I wish to read him, she always says that I should read Dahl!

    ~S(t)ri
    Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
    Smile, it makes (y)our day!

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    1. His books are just perfect for kids. The ones for adults are scary reads.

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  11. Love his books and grew up reading them! ♥

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  12. One of my favourite authors well not just mine but every kid i would say :)

    good take on "R"


    Bikram

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    1. Bikram.. So good to see you around after so long. Thanks for dropping by.

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  13. I guess its time I picked up his books :P .. have always read amazing reviews of his work!!
    Lovely write up.. thanks for the intro.

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  14. I am very fond of childrens' books. Okay, never got over them - just added to my reading growth as I grew up. And Roald Dahl is someone I discovered only after Vidur came along. Delightful!

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  15. Charlie and the Chocolate factory!! :)) Matilda!! :) He has created some superb characters... Funnily I read him in my teens and fell in love with his writings!

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  16. A smashing one, Tulika. That Roald Dahl factfile is super interesting. I love all his books not just the kiddy ones. The short stories give me shivers - Royal Jelly for instance.
    Great choice for R.

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