11 Things You Didn’t Know About Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is one of my favourite authors who never fails to inspire me. Last summer I visited his museum in Great Missenden and learnt a lot of interesting facts about the author. And because he would be celebrating his 101st birthday tomorrow, on 13th September, I’d like to share some of them with you in his honour.

1. His Origin Influenced His Writing

Roald Dahl’s origin isn’t what you think it may be. In fact, he was born to Norwegian parents in Cardiff, Wales. His origin has influenced one of his children’s books, The Witches. The author came back to his homeland every summer until he turned adult.

2. He Was Almost Too Tall To Be An Aviator

One of Roald Dahl’s dreams was to become an aviator, which he fulfiled when he joined the Royal Air Force in 1939 during the Second World War. Yet his dream career it almost didn’t happen! He was 1.98 m tall – considered too tall for this career.

How tall was Roald Dahl? How tall am I? Just like Miss Honey from the book Matilda!
How tall was Roald Dahl? How tall am I? Just like Miss Honey from the book Matilda!

3. His Teeth Was False

When Dahl was 21, he got all his teeth removed and replaced with false ones. At that time it was a common practice – keeping him from the trouble of dental care.

4. Hemingway Was His Writing Mentor

Roald Dahl met Ernest Hemingway during the Second World War. When Dahl took on writing about his experience at RAF, Hemingway became his writing mentor for a short period of time.

Roald Dahl and Ernest Hemingway, 1944. Via nydailynews.com.
Roald Dahl and Ernest Hemingway, 1944. Via nydailynews.com.

5. He Worked With Walt Disney

It may come as a surprise, but Dahl had even worked with Walt Disney on a movie. Unfortunately, The Gremlins was never released.

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Roald Dahl and Walt Disney. Via literary007.com.

6. He Wrote The Script Of One Of The Bond Films

It may surprise you that the movie script of You Only Live Twice comes from Roald Dahl. Indeed, the author proved his writing skills in different genres.

7. He Went For A Dinner To White House

When Franklin Roosevelt was a president at the White House, he invited Roald Dahl for a dinner. The reason? Roosevelt’s wife Eleanor loved reading The Gremlins to their grandchildren.

The invitation to White House with the Roosevelt family.
The invitation to White House with the Roosevelt family.

8. He Kept A Lot Of Weird Stuff In His Writing Hut

Dahl spent 6 hours a day writing in his hut and by the time he died in 1990, the place become quite lived-in. Small models of aeroplanes reminding him of his RAF years, a big ball of aluminium foil wrap from milk chocolate, pieces of his spine in a small bottle, and many other curiosities were hidden in his hut.

9. He Made His Writing Chair Himself

When Dahl became a professional writer, he made a special chair for writing. It was a heritage from his mother and he made a big hole at the bottom of the back seat which supported his aching back that he injured during the Second World War. It also had a special board for writing supported by rolled newspapers, carefully measured for the perfect angle.

Sitting in a replica of Roald Dahl's writing chair.
Sitting in a replica of Roald Dahl’s writing chair.

10. He Lived In One Place For 36 Years

Dahl has traveled the world before he decided to settle from all the noise of the cities. He moved to Great Missenden in 1954 and lived there until his death until 1990. He often went for walks around the village and enjoyed the slow, stereotype life.

11. This Year Would Be His 100th Birthday

On 13 September this year, the author would celebrate his 100th birthday. Although Roald Dahl died 16 years ago, he’s still alive thanks to his books foundations that run in his name.

Roald Dahl's tomb in Great Missenden. Did you spot the giant foot?
Roald Dahl’s tomb in Great Missenden. Did you spot the giant foot?