Roald Dahl was born in September 1916, and died in November 1990. He was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot, whose books have sold over 200 million copies.
Born in Wales to Norwegian parents, he studied in Wales, Weston-Super-Mare and later Repton. Dahl worked briefly for the Shell Oil company before joining in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, during which he became a flying ace, diplomat and intelligence officer, rising to the rank of acting wing commander.
He rose to literary prominence in the 1940s with works for both children and adults, 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.” His writing is often inspired by his personal experiences, both in his autobiographical and fictional work.
Dahl’s short stories are known for their unexpected twists and turns, and his children’s books for their unsentimental, macabre mood, dotted with dark comedy, and featuring villainous adult enemies of the child characters. His books champion the kind-hearted, and feature an underlying warm sentiment. Dahl’s works for children include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine. His adult works include Tales of the Unexpected, a set of classic short stories.