Author(s): Nadia Cohen
Although his hilariously entertaining stories have touched the hearts of generations of children, there was much more to beloved author Roald Dahl than met the eye.
His fascinating life began in Norway in 1916, and he became a highly rebellious teenager who delighted in defying authority before joining the RAF as a fighter pilot. But after his plane crashed in the African desert he was left with agonizing injuries and unable to fly.
He was dispatched to New York where, as a dashing young air attache, he enraptured societies greatest beauties and became friends with President Roosevelt. Roald soon found himself entangled with a highly complex network of British undercover operations. Eventually he grew tired of the secrecy of spying and retreated to the English countryside.
He married twice and had five children, but his life was also affected by serious illness, tragedy and loss.
He wrote a number of stories for adults, many of which were televised as the hugely popular Tales of the Unexpected, but it was as a children's author that he found greatest fame and satisfaction, saying "I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers...Books shouldn't be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful."
From 1945 until his death in 1990, he lived in Buckinghamshire, where he wrote his most celebrated children's books including Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox.