Dahl, Roald

Dahl, Roald
born Sept. 13, 1916, Llandaff, Wales
died Nov. 23, 1990, Oxford, Eng.

British writer.

A fighter pilot during World War II, he began his writing career when C.S. Forester encouraged him to write about his combat adventures; they were published by The Saturday Evening Post. The short-story collection Someone Like You (1953) was a best-seller; his later stories, many published in The New Yorker, often include bizarre or supernatural elements. His popular children's books James and the Giant Peach (1961) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) were made into films.

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▪ British author
born Sept. 13, 1916, Llandaff, Wales
died Nov. 23, 1990, Oxford, Eng.

      British writer, a popular author of ingenious, irreverent children's books and of adult horror stories.

      Following his graduation from Repton, a renowned British public school, in 1932, Dahl avoided a university education and joined an expedition to Newfoundland. He worked from 1937 to 1939 in Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika (now in Tanzania), but he enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) when World War II broke out. Flying as a fighter pilot, he was seriously injured in a crash landing in Libya. He served with his squadron in Greece and then in Syria before doing a stint (1942–43) as assistant air attaché in Washington, D.C. There the novelist C.S. Forester encouraged him to write about his most exciting RAF adventures, which were published by the Saturday Evening Post.

      Dahl's first book, The Gremlins (1943), was written for Walt Disney and later became a popular movie. He achieved best-seller status with Someone like You (1953; rev. ed. 1961), a collection of stories for adults, which was followed by Kiss, Kiss (1959). His children's book James and the Giant Peach (1961; film 1996), written for his own children, was a popular success, as was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964), which was made into the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971). His other works for young readers include Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970), The Enormous Crocodile (1978), and Matilda (1988; film 1996). Dahl also wrote several scripts for movies, among them You Only Live Twice (1967) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968).

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