Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl | First Editions

1916 - 1990

Roald Dahl (13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990) was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot. He is one of the most beloved children's writers of all time, and his books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide.

Born in Wales to Norwegian parents, Dahl served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, in which he became a flying ace and intelligence officer, rising to the rank of acting wing commander. Dahl began writing fiction for both children and adults, and rose to prominence in the 1940s. Today, Dahl is one of the world's best-selling authors, and has been referred to as "one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century". His awards for contribution to literature include the 1983 World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and the British Book Awards' Children's Author of the Year in 1990. In 2008, The Times placed Dahl 16th on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

Dahl's short stories are known for their unexpected endings and his children's books for their unsentimental, macabre, often darkly comic content, featuring villainous adult enemies of the child characters. His books champion the kind-hearted, and feature an underlying warm, moral current. Roald Dahl died on 23 November 1990, at the age of 74. According to his granddaughter, the family gave him a "sort of Viking funeral". He was buried with his snooker cues, some very good burgundy, chocolates, HB pencils and a power saw. Today, children continue to leave toys and flowers by his grave.

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