Celebrating 100 years of Roald Dahl

by Anna Michaelidou

2016 celebrates 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl; the world's most loved storyteller and author of many children's favourite books. There will be celebrations throughout the year focusing on the author's wonderful stories and incredible characters. The great event, however, will take place on Roald Dahl's birthday, 13th September.

Let's take a moment to remember this great man and the fun-filled, imagination-inspiring stories he so graciously shared with us.

Roald Dahl was born on the 13th September 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff to Norwegian Parents. He started his education at Llandaff Cathedral school but after playing a practical joke and being caned by the headmaster his mother decided to enrol him in a boarding school.

roald dahl

Dahl served in the Royal Air Force during the second world war then wrote books for both children and adults, becoming one of the world's best-selling authors. He has received awards for his contribution to literature including 'Children's Author of the year' in 1990 and the 'World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement' in 1983.

Roald Dahl's books are full of imagination, fun and inspiration. As a child he was my favourite author and I remember the first book I really loved was 'George's Marvellous Medicine'. I'll never forget that horrible grandmother and the fun I had as a child trying to concoct a medicine with a bucket and anything I could get my hands on from my mother's cupboards to get the horrid boy that lived next door to us to shrink!

If my books can help children become readers, then I feel I have accomplished something important.

Roald Dahl

And there is no doubt that Roald Dahl did accomplish what he set out to. Children all over the world take inspiration from Dahl's books and enjoy the unexpected events and fantastic characters in his stories.

Roald Dahl's first children's story 'James and the giant Peach' was published in 1961 and was hugely successful. 2011 saw the 50th anniversary of 'James and the giant peach' and across the UK there were plenty of peached themed events to celebrate.

james and the giant peach

In celebration of what would have been Dahl's 100th birthday there are lots of ways for people to get involved. Whether it be throwing your own Roald Dahl themed party, dressing up as a revolting character or raising money for Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's charity, this year will see people all over the UK celebrating in style.

Other great ways to celebrate our favourite author's birthday would be to visit The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre where special celebrations will be taking place on Saturday 17th September. The award-winning museum is aimed at 6 to 12 year olds featuring interactive galleries and wonderful activities to inspire. The museum is situated in Buckinghamshire where the great man lived for over 30 years.

The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl is a new exhibition that was opened in February of this year at the Southbank Centre. This great interactive exhibition takes travellers on a charming journey that explores Dahl's life, his books and where he got the inspiration for some of his most famous stories and characters.

Many of Roald Dahl's books have been adapted into musicals, plays and films and this year brings the widely anticipated, global release of the big screen adaptation of 'The BFG', directed by Steven Spielberg.

So let's take some time to remember the great man, enjoy the books he graciously shared with us and let our hair down with our children to aid in the celebrations.

A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.

Roald Dahl

A look back over time at Roald Dahl's published works:

First published work - A piece of cake (1942)

  1. The Gremlins (1943)
  2. Over To You (1946)
  3. Some Time Never (1948)
  4. Someone Like You (1953)
  5. Kiss Kiss (1960)
  6. James and the Giant Peach (1961) And now suddenly, the whole place, the whole garden seemed to be alive with magic.
  7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) Something crazy is going to happen now, Charlie thought. But he wasn't frightened. He wasn't even nervous. He was just terrifically excited.
  8. The Magic Finger (1966)
  9. Fantastic Mr Fox (1970) I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice.
  10. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (1972)
  11. Switch Bitch (1974)
  12. Danny, the Champion of the World (1975)
  13. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More (1977)
  14. The Enormous Crocodile (1978)
  15. My Uncle Oswald (1979)
  16. The Twits (1980)
  17. George's Marvellous Medicine (1981) Quite simply, he was going to put in EVERYTHING.
  18. Revolting Rhymes (1982)
  19. The BFG (1982) Don't gobblefunk around with words.
  20. Dirty Beasts (1983)
  21. The Witches (1983)
  22. Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories (1983)
  23. Boy: Tales of Childhood (1984)
  24. The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (1985)
  25. Two Fables (1985)
  26. Going Solo (1986)
  27. Matilda (1988)
  28. Rhyme Stew (1989)
  29. Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life (1989)
  30. Esio Trot (1990)
  31. The Vicar of Nibbleswicke (1991)
  32. The Minpins (1991)
  33. Roald Dahl's Guide to Railway Safety (1991)
  34. My Year (1991)

Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

Roald Dahl