One hundred years may have passed since Roald Dahl was born, but it remains impossible to imagine a literary world without characters he created such as Willy Wonka, Matilda, and the BFG.
Yet despite him being widely acknowledged as one of the world’s best storytellers, few will use the landmark date to highlight the darker, less child-friendly, side of the novelist.
Dahl’s own life may have been more conventional than his characters’ (what mere mortal’s wouldn’t be?) but it was nevertheless filled with challenges and adventures. A dissatisfied schoolboy, Dahl opted out of college in favor of traveling the world and serving with the Royal Air Force. His first attempt at children’s literature, a Disney book called Gremlins, was a flop, but he saw success with the adult story collection Someone Like You. In 1961, with the publication of James and the Giant Peach, his legendary career truly began.