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.
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.

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, 2014 for the theme AMAZING AUTHORS.

Also linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

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