Roald Dahl: The Orignal Charlie Bucket

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Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff, Wales on the 13th September 1916. He came from a strong Norwegian heritage with both his parents being Norwegian. When he was young both his sister and his father died only weeks apart. Roald Dahl’s mother could have taken him and his two other sisters back to Norway to live with relatives, but decided to keep them in Wales. This was because his father had the belief that British schools were the best in the world.

While attending school in derbyshire, there was a Cadbury chocolate factory not far away that used to provide sweets for the children to sample. There was also another company in the area that was in direct competition with Cadbury. It seems there was some corporate espionage going on. This later on gave Roald Dahl the idea for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Roald Dahl only began writing when he met author C.S. Forrester. His first short story was published in 1942. Roald Dahl thought his career as a writer came about as a ‘fluke.’ Something that a lot of people don’t know about Roald Dahl is that he wrote macabre adult stories before he started writing children’s stories. As Roald Dahl wrote more and more stories they started to become less realistic and more fantasy.

Roald Dahl died the 23rd of November 1990 from a blood disease. He was 74 years of age. It is said that he had a sort of ‘Viking’ funeral where he was buried with some items that he cherished in life. These items were pencils, chocolates and snooker cues.

Here are some interesting facts about Roald Dahl:

Roald Dahl was named after a famous Norwegian explorer.

When Roald Dahl’s son Theo was four months old he was hit by a taxi and therefore afterwards suffered from hydrocephalus also known as ‘water on the brain.’

In 1962 his seven year old daughter Olivia died from measles. He later dedicated the ‘BFG’ to Olivia.

Roald Dahl married actor Patricia Neal in 1953. During birth of their fifth child, she suffered from cerebral aneurysms. Patricia had to re-learn how to walk and talk. Roald Dahl divorced Patricia Neal in 1983. He then became re-married to Felicity Crosland.

Roald Dahl could speak three different languages: Norwegian, English and Swahili.

Roald Dahl was an aircraftman in the Royal Air Force and was also a fighter pilot during World War II.

Roald Dahl didn’t really get into children’s books until he had his own children. In the 1960’s he got a traditional Gypsy wagon and turned it into a playhouse for his children.

He dedicated the book ‘Matilda’ to his grand-daughter Sophie Dahl.

Roald Dahl stated once that if he hadn’t become a writer he would have become a doctor.

In 1965 he was accused of plagiarism. He published a short story in Playboy called ‘The Visitor’ which was a lot like a story from writer Dod Osbourne called ‘Master of the Girl Pat.’

He loved chocolate, but not chocolate cake or chocolate ice-cream.

His favourite way of writing was with pencil on yellow paper.

He had two steel hips and six operations on his spine.

Some of his favourite authors were Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling and Frederick Marryat.

Some of Roald Dahl’s stories that you should consider reading are:

Children’s Fiction:

The Gremlins          Charlie and the Chocolate Factory                  Charlie and the Glass Elevator

The BFG                 The Witches             The Twits               Fantastic Mr Fox          Esio Trot

The Minpins            The Vicar of Nibbleswicke             Danny, the Champion of the World

The Magic Finger              The Enormous Crocodile                George’s Marvellous Medicine

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me           James and the Giant Peach        Matilda        

Adult Fiction:

Switch Bitch                   Kiss Kiss             Twenty-Nine Kisses from Roald Dahl           Two Fables

Sometime Never: A Fable for Superman             Someone Like You          Skin and Other Stories

My Uncle Oswald             Lamb to the Slaughter             The Best of Roald Dahl        

Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories       Tales of the Unexpected     The Roald Dahl Treasury

More Tales of the Unexpected         Over To You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More            The Roald Dahl Omnibus

The Great Automatic Gramatizator                       Roald Dahl Collected Stories

Ah: Sweet Mystery of Life: The Country Stories of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was a great author with an even greater imagination. Hopefully he has inspired you to read and write more.

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Neil Gaiman: An author that needs no introduction.

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Neil Richard Gaiman was born in England on the 10th of November 1960. He became intrigued by books as a small child. Some of the authors he liked to read were Edgar Allan Poe, Tolkien and C.S.Lewis. Libraries and his love of books fostered a deep seeded interest in writing. The starting point of Gaiman’s career began in Journalism. He wrote many articles and interviews under pseudonyms for the Sunday Times, the Observer, Knave and Time Out. In 1984 his first book was a biography on the band Duran Duran. Gaiman went on to write in many different genres across a range of mediums. Neil Gaiman is a writer who who keeps his fans constantly entertained. He was not only a writer but also a screen writer, a graphic novelist, producer and director. Some of the screen writing he has done that you may of heard of is: Beowulf, Coraline, Day of the Dead, Death and Me, Princess Mononoke, Stardust, MirrorMask and A Short Film About John Bolton.

Some interesting facts that you may not have known about Neil Gaiman:

His writing always seems to have a lot of metaphors, allusions and alliterations.

His dogs name Cabal, comes from the Hebrew word Kabbalah. The original meaning of this is an occult doctrine or secret.

Neil Gaiman is good friends with Tori Amos.

Currently he is married to Amanda Palmer who is his second wife. He has three children with his first wife Mary McGrath.

Gaiman never went to college.

Gaiman filed and won a lawsuit against Todd McFarlane. In 1991 Gaiman was asked by McFarlane to do some work for him on one issue of the Spawn series. During this time Gaiman introduced three supporting characters to the issue that he had created. McFarlane later claimed that he owned all of Gaimans creations. McFarlane also refused to pay Gaiman for work that was later republished and kept in print.

Neil Gaiman has his own blog. You can check it out here:

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/

Neil Gaiman is definitely an amazing writer and it was my pleasure to add him to the author review list. I hope you gained as much pleasure reading about him as I did writing about him.

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Andrew Mcgahan: An Author of Many Genres

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Andrew McGahan was born 1965 in Dalby, Queensland, Australia. He grew up on a wheat farm with 9 other brothers and sisters. After finishing school he went to the University of Queensland to do an Arts degree, but ended up dropping out half-way through it. He then went on to write his first novel, but unfortunately this was never published. The next few years became a ‘floating’ stage in life for him, doing an array of jobs, until he published his first book in 1992. This book was Praise. When he wrote Praise in 1991 he received The Australian/Vogel Literary Award for unpublished novels. Praise is about the truth and dark humour of a young person growing up in Australia. It is also about a relationship sustained by drugs, alcohol and sex. Some say that this novel is a some-what an auto biography. Praise is considered to be in the genre of grunge literature.

In 1995 Andrew went on to write a prequel to Praise called 1988. When Andrew tried to write a third novel after 1988, he found it difficult. Instead of writing something in the genre of grunge literature he ended up writing a crime novel. This novel was called Last Drinks. Last Drinks won a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. From this point forward nothing seemed to be able to stop Andrew from writing great novels. He went on to write The White Earth , Underground, Wonders of a Godless World, The Coming of the Whirlpool and The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice. Andrew McGahan has written in many different genres throughout his writing career and it has proven to be a great success.

Andrew Mcgahan is an Australian author that shows writing is a struggle, but if you stick with it you may just make it.

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Kate Grenville – An Amazing Aussie Author

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Kate Grenville was born in 1950 in Sydney, Australia. Kate Grenville established herself as a well-known author in 1984 when she published a collection of short stories called Bearded Ladies. Bearded Ladies  were short stories based on the notion of women trying to free themselves from gender stereotypes within society.  Kate then went on to publish 8 fiction novels. Kate is known to do a lot of research for her books, using historical and factual information in the creative process.

Some interesting facts about Kate Grenville:

Kate always wanted to be a writer when she was young, but didn’t know that it was an option when picking a career.

Her first job was a university holiday job at a milk bar. “I had no idea that feet could ache that much after 8 hours of standing behind a counter. And I’ve never been able to look at a milkshake from that day to this.”

Her favourite book of all time is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.

The people that she finds most influential when writing is Jane Austen, Virgina Woolf and Patrick White.

Some of Kate Grenville’s writing that you should check out:

Lillian’s Story – Published in 1985 it follows the life story of a woman named Lillian Una Singer.

Dreamhouse – Published in 1986 – A sort of black comedy about a marriage on the rocks

Joan Makes History – Published in 1988 is about a woman who is present at all the famous moments in Australia’s European history.

Dark Places (Albion’s story in the U.S.) – Published in 1994 – Is a novel to go along with Lillian’s Story – it is from the point of view of her father.

The Idea of Perfection – Published in 1999 – About two unlikely people who fall in love.

The Secret RiverPublished in 2005 – Part of a trilogy about early Australia

The Lieutenant – Published 2008 – Part of a trilogy about early Australia

Sarah Thornhill – Part of a trilogy about early Australia.

If you are looking for something interesting to read: Kate Grenville is for you.

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