Happy birthday, Dahl-ing
With Charlie and the Chocolate Factory completing 50 years and Roald Dahl only two years short of his birth centenary, Kanika Sharma wishes the beloved writer a gloriumptious birthday and for treats has lined up piggery-jokery facts
About the Time-Twiddler and his works
1. In 1971, a real Willy Wonka wrote to Roald Dahl. He was a postman.
Willy Wonka and Veruca Salt Illustration courtesy/Quentin Blake
2. The first draft of the Magic Finger was titled The Almost Ducks, and James and the Giant Peach was going to be called James and the Giant Cherry.
3. Roald Dahl wrote may of his books in a shed in his garden, sitting upon an old battered armchair. He balanced a specially designed writing board on his lap and wrote with an HB pencil on yellow legal pads.
Roald Dahl clicked on 11th December 1971. Pics/Getty
4. Prince of Pondicherry was the name of the Indian Prince who Grandpa Joe tells Charlie about. The prince asked Mr Wonka to build him an entire palace out of chocolate, and he did, but it melted in India’s heat.
American actor Patricia Neal smiles with her husband, Welsh-born author Roald Dahl and two of their children outside their farmhouse.
5. He wrote the screenplays for You Only Live Twice (the James Bond film) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Book cover of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of the most famous works of Dahl’s. PIC/Puffin Books
6. It has been said that Roald Dahl created more than 250 new words. Many of them appear in The BFG.
7. Dahl didn’t like the man with a beard. He thought of the concept for The Twits after deciding to do something against beards.
8. He did not start writing for children until he had children of his own.
9. He loved chocolate, but not chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream.
10. Dahl had two steel hips and underwent six operations on his spine.
Information courtesy: primaryfacts.com, funtrivia.com, dailedge.ie, buckscc.gov.uk. bbc.com
Yes, I absolutely love Roald Dahl and his wildly daring characters are my favourite. However, I think his truly great children’s works like Danny the Champion of the World and The Fantastic Mr Fox are not talked about quite as much as some of his lesser works like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach.
Musharraf Ali Farooqi Author
He was rude. He was crude. He hated adults and would only sign books for children.
Jerry Pinto Author
In The Witches, the boy is turned into a mouse that matches his gran’s age. He invented the word snozzcumber. He was also a magnificent writer of malicious adult stories. What’s not to like.