>> Monday, September 13, 2010
September 13th is Roald Dahl Day (the anniversary of his birth) and to help one of my favorite indie booksellers celebrate, I'll be taking the penultimate leg of a day-long James and the Giant Peach group reading today at Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina from 5:40 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Come out and listen!
And in honor of Mr. Dahl and his tremendous work in children's literature, here are some facts about the author you might not know, all courtesy of Wikipedia:
- Born in Wales, Dahl served as an RAF pilot in the Second World War, and became a flying ace and intelligence agent. By war's end, he had reached the rank of Wing Commander.
- Dahl's parents were Norwegian, and named him after famous Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen.
- When Dahl was eight, he was caned by the headmaster of his boarding school for leading a plot that deposited a rat in a large jar of gobstopper candies at a local sweet shop.
- Dahl's report cards said of him, "I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended," "a persistent muddler. Vocabulary negligible, sentences malconstructed. He reminds me of a camel," and "this boy is an indolent and illiterate member of the class."
- Dahl was 6'6" as an adult, and a good soccer player.
- During his school years, the chocolate company Cadbury would often send boxes of new chocolates to his school to be tested by the pupils. Dahl reportedly used to dream about inventing a new chocolate bar that would win him the praise of Mr. Cadbury, a dream which inspired him, many years later, to write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
- Dahl was married to actress Patricia Neal for 30 years.
- Dahl's adult short story "The Smoker" (aka "The Man from the South") was filmed twice as episodes for Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1960 and 1985, and adapted by Quentin Tarantino for his segment of the 1995 film Four Rooms.
- Dahl has screenplay credits on the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, both freely adapted from novels written by Ian Fleming.
- Dahl was buried with his snooker cues, some very good burgundy, chocolates, HB pencils and a power saw.