Biography of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, near the Welsh capital of Cardiff, on September 13, 1916, to parents Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Hesselberg. Dahl's father was a successful shipbroker and businessmen, and Dahl's admiration of his father's success was reflected in Dahl's first autobiography, Boy.

Dahl served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, and he began to garner acclaim as a writer in the 1940s. Over the course of his life, he worked as a novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot, and screenwriter.

He was widely praised for creating books that captured the attention of both children and adults. Dahl spoke often of his enjoyment for writing children's books, saying, "If my books have helped children to become readers, then I feel I have accomplished something important." He relished the opportunity to develop children's ability to read and to invigorate their imagination. He once said in an interview that "a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men." His books played with unlikely and exciting characters and plot lines, providing an escape for children whose lives may have lacked excitement or revolved around monotony. His ability to provide such a fruitful reading experience for young children has made him a favorite in elementary and middle school classrooms, and he is currently considered one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th century.

Known for dark humor and unexpected endings, Roald Dahl became famous with works of juvenile literature such as James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Twits, George's Marvelous Medicine, and The BFG. Dahl's books are widely available in illustrated editions and several—including James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Fantastic Mr. Fox—have been adapted to film.

Roald Dahl died on November 23, 1990. His death was the result of a blood condition known as Myelodysplastic syndrome.


Study Guides on Works by Roald Dahl

The BFG was written in 1982 by Roald Dahl. Dahl was a well-known author at this point, having already published popular books such as Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Danny, the Champion of the World. These books...

Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 1964. At this point, Dahl had been writing for some time and his timeless work James and the Giant Peach had already been published. This novel, however, is Dahl’s most well known. It is...

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a children’s book written in 1968 by famed author Roald Dahl. Its main characters are a number of personified animals, namely the Mr. Fox of the title. The story follows his adventures as he tries to outwit the farmer who live...

The Gremlinsis consideredby manyto be Roald Dahl's first piece of writing for children. He startedworking on it in 1942 after his first considerable writing "Shot Down Over Libya" was published in theSaturday Evening Post. He was employed by the...

James and the Giant Peach was written in 1961 and was well received by the public. Originally titled James and the Giant Cherry, the book was given a new name because Dahl deemed a peach to be "prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry." The...

Matilda is a novel written by the famed children’s author Roald Dahl. It was first published in 1988 by Jonathan Cape in London. The book was illustrated by Dahl’s frequent collaborator Quentin Blake. It very well may be Dahl’s most well known...

The Witches was written in 1983 by famed children’s author Roald Dahl. At this point, Dahl had written many of his most well known works, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. The book was dedicated to Roald Dahl...