What is Roald Dahl most famous for?

Roald Dahl was a British children's author who created world-famous stories such as James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda. His works are globally renowned for inspiring children, and his books have sold more than 250 million copies across the world.

Reading Roald Dahl is like waltzing through an adventure land. You enter a world of magic. Because that's what he does, casting a spell on you by creating bizarre, macabre, yet lovable and entertaining characters.

The British author is a much-loved children's writer whose stories are akin to a carnival town. Anything was possible in his stories. Packed with adventures and peppered with an animated and humorous style of storytelling, Roald Dahl whisks you off to a land of fantasy, much like his character The Big Friendly Giant carries Sophie to a world of adventure. Reading his books and knowing his characters would give you a sense of how imaginative and ludicrous the writer's mind would have been.

Characters such as the clever Mr. Fox, the eccentric Willy Wonka or the villainous Miss Trunchbull who doesn't like pigtails have entertained children through the years.

Magic with words.                                                      

Dahl invented over 500 words and character names, and exaggerated the narratives and characters, making them even more appealing and entertaining to children.

Did you know that there was a Roald Dahl dictionary? The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary contains all the words coined by the author and was published by the the Oxford University Press.

Early Life

Born on September 13, 1916, in Llandaff, Wales, Dahl wrote books not only for children but also for adults. After finishing his school, he took off for an expedition to Newfoundland, instead of joining college.

When World War II broke out, he enlisted himself in the Royal Air Force (RAF). He sustained injuries whilst flying as a fighter pilot, following a crash landing in Libya.

Foray into the literary world

His experience in the military is reflected in his books. He published many such stories in popular magazines.

His first children's book The Gremlins (1943) narrated the tale of creatures who crash fighter aircraft. He penned a series of military tales in Over to You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying (1946).

In the 1950s, he focussed on writing horror stories for adults. The book Someone like You that propelled him to the best-seller category. It was when he started making up bedtime stories for his children that the world of children's literature piqued his interest. The first of his successes was, of course, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964). And soon, many other books with eccentric characters and dark comical settings were published and celebrated. His nonsensical world continues to captivate children and adults alike.

The world of movies

Dahl turned his novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) into a screenplay for the 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He wrote the screenplay for the 1967 Bond movie You Only Live Twice and also for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). Several other works of Dahl were adapted to movies. He also published an autobiography - Boy: Tales of Childhood in 1984. Dahl passed away on November 23, 1990, in Oxford, England.

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Roald Dahl.

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Who was the J.R.R. Tolkien?

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Early career

The English writer, artist, poet, and academic was born in 1892 in South Africa. His family moved to England later. Tolkien taught English language and literature during most of his adult life. He was a professor at the Universities of Leeds and Oxford. For some time, he was also a staff of The Oxford English Dictionary, which was then called The New English Dictionary. Even as he pursued a highly academic career, in his private life, Tolkien would immerse himself in myths and legends, weaving many tales of fantasy.

Tolkien's fantasy world

Tolkien weaved many fantastical worlds, often also creating his own language for these worlds. The posthumously published "The Silmarillion Tales" is one of his earlier works. It is said that Tolkien wrote also to entertain his children. One such writing later became "The Hobbit". When "The Hobbit" was published in 1837 with illustrations by the author, it became a huge success. It was celebrated so widely that the publisher asked for its sequel. And there came Tolkien's masterpiece- "The Lord of the Rings".

The Lord of the Rings

The epic fantasy was published in three parts viz. "The Fellowship of the Ring", "The Two Towers", and "The Return of the King". With wizards, elves, dark lords, trolls, dwarves, orcs, and so on. Tolkien created a magical world in "The Lord of the Rings". The book was celebrated and achieved cult status. By the turn of the 21st Century, the book sold more than 50 million copies in over 30 languages.

To date, its influences can be felt in the fantasy fiction that succeeded "The Lord of the Rings", like an aftertaste that lingers on. It can even be seen in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Tolkien also published many shorter works, and a few of his books were also published posthumously.

Tolkien the artist

Tolkien's prose and craft have captivated generations of children. But equally compelling was his visual art. He created a range of artworks. He not only came up with art for his book covers, but also brought life to the mythical world he created through his art. So we get to see how Middle Earth and its inhabitants looked through his eyes.

Did you know?

Remember Luthien Tinuviel of "The Lord of the Rings"? It was Tolkien's wife Edith Bratt who was the muse for this character. At a young age, Tolkien fell in love with Edith, who was an orphan. When he turned 21, Tolkien asked Edith to marry him.

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Wodehouse: The master of comedy

With a comical plot, ludicrous scenarios, and eccentric characters. Wodehouse scripted a world around the social atmosphere of the late Edwardian era, poking fun at the English upper class Let's take a look at the writer whose birth anniversary falls this month.

It is like an escape into a land of comedy. Nothing wrong could happen to you here. English writer P.G. Wodehouse's literary world is all about entertainment. Pick any of his books and you are assured of a good laugh riot.

It is easy to get lost in the whimsical world of the upper-class English, and delight in the often absurd and funny scenarios that take on a wacky, idiosyncratic turn as the plot progresses. His is a comic tradition that continues to remain unsurpassed, taking you on a humorous journey.

One of the greatest 20th-century writers of humour, Wodehouse created a new realm of comedy through his books. With a highly evolving, comical plot, ludicrous scenarios, and eccentric characters, Wodehouse scripted a world around the social atmosphere of the late Edwardian era, poking fun at the English upper class.

Early years

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was born on October 15, 1881 in Guildford, Surrey, England. Educated in Dulwich College,

London, Wodehouse took up a bank job. His career started at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank.

But he soon quit it and turned his attention to writing. He became a freelance journalist and short story writer. He later became a humour columnist at the London Globe (1902). He also wrote for many other publications. In the same year, he published his first novel "The Pothunters."

When Wodehouse was made a prisoner

During the war, in 1940, he was captured in France by German forces. He was in a German internment camp for a year where he kept writing.

Whilst being a prisoner, he agreed to be part of a series of talks on German radio. Little did he know that he was playing right into the Nazi propaganda machine.

The broadcasts were a humorous take on his experiences as a prisoner in which he also made fun of his captors. But these broadcasts didn't go down well with the politicians and journalists in Britain.

There were accusations of treason. Later, he went back to America and continued his writing journey. He never returned to his homeland. He received a knighthood in 1975,

The comical riot

It all started with Something Fresh (1915), his comic debut. There he introduced the Emsworth family. It is the first instalment of the Blandings Castle series. The eccentric Lord Emsworth and his prize-winning pig the Empress of Blandings, along with a legion of relatives and impostors take you on a comical riot in the Blandings Castle series.

Among the other characters he created, the most loved are the duo Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. They first made their debut in the story Extricating Young Gussie (1915). Jeeves, the inimitable "gentleman's gentleman" of the young bachelor Bertie, is perhaps the valet everyone would love to have at home. He saves the day always and gets Bertie out of every bizarre situation he puts himself in.

Musical journey

It was not just fiction Wodehouse was a master at. He wrote scripts and song lyrics for composers. A novelist, short-story writer, lyricist, and playwright. Wodehouse donned many caps. He wrote more than 90 books, over 20 film scripts and also collaborated on plays and musical comedies. He is often regarded as one of the pioneers of the American musical.

‘Sunset at Blandings’ was his last and unfinished novel. Wodehouse died at the age of 93 on February 14, 1975, in Southampton, N.Y.

Wodehouse loved dogs

In Pekes, hounds and mutts I have known, an article he wrote as an introduction to 'Son of Bitch', a book of photographs by Elliott Erwitt, Wodehouse talks about the many dogs he has had the company of. The first dog he had, Sammy, a French bulldog, was given to him by his colleague. The article ends with his musings about dogs and humour. Here is a peek into how entertaining Wodehouse can be: 'My own opinion is that some have and some don't. Dachshunds have, but not St Bernards and Great Danes. Apparently a dog has to be small to be fond of a joke. You never find an Irish wolfhound trying to be a stand-up comic.'

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Who was the Bram Stoker?

Bram Stoker, byname of Abraham Stoker, (born November 8, 1847, Clontarf, County Dublin, Ireland—died April 20, 1912, London, England), Irish writer. Bram Stoker who is best known for the Gothic horror novel "Dracula" was born in Dubin, Ireland, in November. His early years were rife with personal struggles for he was an invalid till the age of 7. He could not stand or walk. But even those difficult times had a profound creative effect on Stoker. "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later  years." Stoker would write later.

After making a full recovery. he became an athlete and football player in school. He also earned a degree in mathematics from Trinity College, Dubin.

A passion for theatre

 Even as he was in civil service at Dublin Castle in 1876, he doubled as a drama critic for the Dublin Evening Mail. Though an unpaid job, it quenched his passion for theatre. Around this time that he acquainted himself with English actor Henry Irving. Stoker was Irving's manager for about 27 years until the actor's death.

Foray into the literary world

It was in 1879 that Stoker published his first book. Titled "The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland," it was a handbook in legal administration.

He later turned to writing fiction and published his first novel, "The Snake's Pass," a romantic thriller. In 1897 came his masterstroke - "Dracula."

An epistolary novel - a novel written as a collection of diary entries, telegrams, and letters from the characters - "Dracula" was celebrated and led to a lot of subcultures. The book went through a multitude of incarnations, being adapted for movies, television series, theatre, books and so on.


The Gothic novel starts off with a young lawyer Jonathan Harker on his journey to Transylvania. His destination - Castle Dracula where he is set to meet Count Dracula, a client of his firm, to finalise a property transaction.

The story features a Transylvanian vampire who survives by feeding on the blood of innocent people. Eventually, after many exploits, Dracula is destroyed.

During the course of his literary career, Stoker wrote a number of short stories and 12 novels, including "The Mystery of the Sea" (1902), "The Jewel of Seven Stars" (1903), and 'The Lady of the Shroud" (1909).

Personal life

Stoker married actress Florence Balcombe and the couple had their only son Noel in 1879. The final years were difficult, for Stoker had to grapple with financial struggles and deteriorating health. He suffered a number of strokes and renal impairment. Stoker passed away in April 1912.

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The short life of a prolific storyteller

Guy de Maupassant is known for depicting human life, emotions and social forces and creating drama out of it. His birth anniversary was observed on August 5. Mathilde was born into a family of clerks. She largely despised her social setting, unable to enjoy all the luxuries of life. She dreamt of dainty dinners, shining silverware, gowns and jewels. Then one night, Mathilde gets an invitation to go to a party with her husband. She borrows a diamond necklace from her friend. But Mathilde loses it at the party. Instead of telling the truth, the duo replaces the necklace by buying a diamond necklace and end up working the rest of the years to pay for it, living a miserable life. You can always see a Mathilde if you look around, one who aspires to live above their station and later pays the price for it. Mathilde is a character in the short story "The Necklace" by Guy De Maupassant. But the story doesn't end there.

The greatest reveal comes towards the end when Maupassant unveils with a flourish that the necklace is a fake. The friend tells Mathilde that it was paste jewellery and not real diamonds that she lost.

The short story is known for its twist ending and the irony of life. "The Necklace" is just one among the 300 short stories written by Maupassant. A master storyteller, Maupassant is considered the father of short story writing.

Maupassant is known for weaving narratives around human life, emotions and social forces and creating drama out of it. The life of the lower and middle classes figure as one of the central themes of his stories.

Maupassant studied law in Paris. The Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870 while he was studying law and he enlisted himself in the army. This military experience would later on become fodder for many of his literary works. Some of his stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War and the narratives delve into the futility of war.

Maupassant underwent an informal apprenticeship under French novelist Gustave Flaubert which left a great influence on his literary career.

His stories were crafted in the naturalist style, meaning they are more realistic. With prose that is devoid of any frills, his writings are simple. His stories always delve into the many emotions of the human mind such as greed, ambition and desire. Apart from short stories, he wrote novels and travel books.

It was his short story 'Boule de Suif (Ball of Fat) that first gained him attention.

Some of his famous short stories are the The Necklace', The Horla', The False Gems', and 'Useless Beauty'. He also worked in newspapers where his short stories were published. His works are said to have influenced writers such as O Henry, William Somerset Maugham, Anton Chekhov and so on.

Maupassant is regarded as one of the greatest storytellers the literary world has ever seen. Sadly, he died at the young age of 42.

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