Roald Dahl. If you have not heard of him then you must be living under a rock! 2016 marks the centenary of his birth and as such there are many amazing ways to celebrate his works and his life.
First, I will give you a bit of a background on his life and his writings. He was born on September 13, 1916 in Llandaff South Wales. He is famous for his children’s books, however he did not start writing these until he had children of his own. He published the popular book James and the Giant Peach in 1961 and in 1964, he released another highly successful book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was later adapted for two films. Over his decades-long writing career, Dahl wrote 19 children’s books, all of which were written in a small hut at the bottom of his garden, in pencil on yellow paper (just a little quirky fact for you)! He died on 23 November 1990 and is buried in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Great Missenden.
Dhal has crafted many wonderful worlds and stories but my personal favourite is Danny, Champion of the World published in 1975. This was the first Roald Dahl book I ever read and it has stuck with me for a long time as I can still remember studying it at school! He finds a way to grab your attention and you just cannot help but be drawn in. If indeed you have been living under a rock and you have never read one of his stories, no matter how old you are, please add it to your bucket list!
22nd July 2016
The BFG has been adapted by Steven Speilberg into a film version of the book, and it looks great! Without giving too much away here is the synopsis of the film “Ten-year-old Sophie is in for the adventure of a lifetime when she meets the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). Naturally scared at first, the young girl soon realizes that the 24-foot behemoth is actually quite gentle and charming. As their friendship grows, Sophie’s presence attracts the unwanted attention of Bloodbottler, Fleshlumpeater and other giants. After traveling to London, Sophie and the BFG must convince Queen Victoria to help them get rid of all the bad giants once and for all.” Keep an eye out for this at the cinemas!
As an art lover I am a great fan of Quentin Blake so this event is a super exciting one for me, this summer he is curator at a special exhibition being held at House of Illustration to run alongside the opening of The BFG. It is open from 24th June right though until 2nd October. The show features Blake’s extraordinarily memorable pictures for the book, and even includes some unpublished illustrations of The BFG which haven’t been exhibited in public before.
Food plays a major role in many of Dahl’s stories, from Wonka’s chocolates to James and his giant peach or the soup that brings down the witches! The chefs at Aqua Shard have taken Dahl’s imaginative writing about food and have used it for inspiration for a special afternoon tea, which is available this summer. These treats include a BFG breakfast sandwich, a Mr Twit’s bird pie, a giant peach meringue and a Grubber Sweetshop Giant Wangdoodles (whatever they are).
Whatever you enjoy, there is something for everyone, so get out there and explore London with Roald Dahl!