British author Roald Dahl also wrote poetry, screenplays, short stories, and was a fighter pilot during World War II. After his successful career in the “Royal Air Force” came to an end owing to head injuries, he rose to fame as a novelist, creating fascinating and humorous novels for youngsters.
He is frequently regarded as one of the greatest children’s writers of the 20th century because his short stories are among the best-selling fiction books in the entire globe. His widely praised best-selling works have achieved such fame and popularity that they have been translated into more than 60 other languages.
While his children’s novels moved quickly, his adult fiction became well-known for its abrupt turns and surprise plots. His adult novels featured inventive plots, but his children’s books typically featured wordplay, neologisms, and puns like “Oompa Loompa,” “Mugglewump,” “Fleshlump eater,” and “Vermicious Knids.”
He wrote “The BFG,” his best-selling book, with his eldest daughter Olivia in mind. Many of his works, including “Matilda” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” have been adapted into popular motion pictures and musical theatre productions. Even now, years after his passing, his books continue to encourage aspiring writers and delight readers of all ages.
Dahl was born in the Llandaff neighbourhood of Cardiff, Wales, in 1916. His parents were Norwegian immigrants Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Dahl (née Hesselberg). Prior to her passing away in 1907, Harold’s first wife, a Frenchwoman, with whom he had two children (a daughter, Ellen, and a son, Louis) while living in Cardiff, had originally immigrated from Norway in the 1880s. Later on, Sofie immigrated, and they wed in 1911.
Roald and his four sisters Astri, Alfhild, Else, and Asta were among their five children, all of whom they raised as Lutherans. In 1920, while Sofie was carrying Asta, Astri passed very suddenly from appendicitis, and Harold passed away from pneumonia a few weeks later. She chose to remain in the UK rather than go back to Norway to be with her family because she wanted to honour her husband’s request to give their children an English education.
When he was a youngster, Dahl was enrolled in St. Peter’s, a public boarding school in England. While he was there, he was incredibly miserable, but he never expressed this to his mother.
He transferred to Repton School in Derbyshire in 1929, which he found similarly unpleasant because of the severe hazing culture and the brutality with which older pupils oppressed and harassed the younger ones. It was at Repton School that he developed his disdain for corporal punishment. Geoffrey Fisher, one of the brutal headmasters Dahl detested, later rose to become the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the connection made Dahl less enthusiastic about religion.
He was surprisingly not known as a very gifted writer when he was a student; in fact, several of his evaluations showed the exact opposite. He did take an interest in sports, photography, and reading. The Cadbury chocolate company occasionally sent samples of new products for Repton students to test, and Dahl’s imagination of new chocolate creations would later turn into his famous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
This was another of his iconic creations that was inspired by his educational experiences. After earning his degree, he joined the Shell Petroleum Company and was assigned to supply oil to Kenya and Tanganyika. He graduated in 1934. (modern-day Tanzania).
After completing his education in 1934 and receiving two years of training in the UK, he accepted a position with “Shell Petroleum Company” in Mombasa, Kenya. He was then relocated to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
He enlisted as an aircraftsman in the “Royal Air Force” in 1939 to pursue his ambitions of adventure. He became an acting pilot officer in Nairobi, Kenya, after finishing his training.In 1940, while he was serving in the Mediterranean, his plane crashed in Fouka, Libya, inflicting injuries to his spine and brain as well as crushing his nose and leaving him temporarily blind.
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
He underwent six spinal operations in addition to a hip replacement.He received months of hospital treatment before being released in 1941 and returning to Athens, Greece, to continue his flying responsibilities. However, he was obliged to quit the RAF and go back to Britain because of his chronic, blinding headaches.
He moved to Washington, DC, in 1942, when he worked as the British Embassy’s assistant air attaché. He got his start writing by penning a short tale for “The Saturday Evening Post” while he was living in Washington, DC, where he also met author C.S. Forester.In 1943, he released his first picture book for kids, “The Gremlins,” and in 1946, he published “Over To You,” a collection of his wartime tales. In 1948, his book “Sometime Never” was released.
“All the reading she had done had given her a view of life that they had never seen. If only they would read a little Dickens or Kipling they would soon discover there was more to life than cheating people and watching television.”
He established himself as a successful short-story author for adults in addition to penning wonderful stories for children. His works, which he wrote for adults, were chock-full of dark humour and shocking turns.
In 1984 and 1986, respectively, he published his autobiographies “Boy: Tales of Childhood” and “Going Solo.”In the 1986 “New Year Honors,” he declined the Order of the British Empire (OBE). He reportedly declined the honour because he preferred a knighthood.
His daughter Lucy got the BBC’s “Blue Peter Gold Badge” in 2016 as a posthumous tribute to him.
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Dahl was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome near the end of his life. This rare blood malignancy, which often affects elderly patients, develops when blood cells do not “mature” into healthy blood cells.
On November 23, 1990, in Oxford, England, Roald Dahl passed away. He was interred in an appropriately unconventional manner in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Great Missenden, in Buckinghamshire, England: he was buried with some wine and chocolates, pencils, his favourite billiard cues, and a power saw. His tomb is still visited frequently today by both kids and adults, who leave toys and flowers as a remembrance.
Most of Dahl’s legacy is found in the timeless appeal of his children’s books. His most well-known works have been transformed into a variety of media, including radio, television, film, and theatre.
But his contributions to literature aren’t the only ones that have endured. Felicity, his widow, carried on his philanthropic work through the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity, which helps kids in the UK who are suffering from a range of illnesses, after he passed away.
The Roald Dahl Funny Prize, given yearly to authors of amusing children’s books, was established in 2008 by the UK charity Booktrust and Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen. Children’s fiction has been forever changed by Dahl’s distinct sense of humour and his sophisticated yet approachable style.