Books - Roald Dahl Day

Today marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl – the world’s number one storyteller...

There have been "gloriumptious" celebrations for Roald Dahl throughout the year building towards celebrations for Roald Dahl’s birthday – AKA Roald Dahl Day today, September 13th.

Summer so far has seen:

- the global release of Steven Spielberg’s movie version of THE BFG in July, winning critical acclaim and box office success.

-  the Summer Reading Challenge, the UK’s biggest annual reading promotion for children aged 4-11, was themed THE BIG FRIENDLY READ for 2016 and ran in libraries throughout the summer.

- Two major exhibitions of Quentin Blake’s artwork running concurrently – THE BFG IN PICTURES at The House of Illustration in London and INSIDE STORIES at National Museum Cardiff.

- On August 12th, the acclaimed THE WONDERCRUMP WORLD OF ROALD DAHL experience relocated to Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, where further plans are afoot to transform Cardiff into ROALD DAHL’S CITY OF THE UNEXPECTED (see below).

- Roald Dahl titles have already topped the bestseller lists twice in 2016 – first with World Book Day title THE GREAT MOUSE PLOT in March and again in August with THE BFG.

Every year, Roald Dahl’s actual birthday - September 13th - is marked with special Roald Dahl Day events. This year, the celebrations will be bigger than ever as readers around the country, and indeed the world, celebrate the centenary of the world’s number one storyteller.

Bookshops throughout the UK will be celebrating Roald Dahl with birthday parties throughout the week as well as fantastical window displays. The nationwide campaign to celebrate bookshops BOOKS ARE MY BAG are celebrating the Roald Dahl centenary with a special edition ‘The BFG is my Bag’ bag, designed by Quentin Blake.

Meanwhile, Cardiff, Roald Dahl’s birthplace, is preparing to transform itself over the weekend of September 17th-18th into ROALD DAHL’S CITY OF THE UNEXPECTED. Produced by Wales Millennium Centre & National Theatre Wales, and directed by Nigel Jamieson, ROALD DAHL’S CITY OF THE UNEXPECTED will be an extraordinary event showcasing both Roald Dahl’s distinctive voice and the jewels of the city’s buildings, parks and its people. Eye-popping visual spectacles will turn heads and madcap events will defy the laws of physics in some of the city’s most iconic locations, and a cast of thousands will give heart-stopping performances both intimate and epic. For more information, visit:

Also on Saturday September 17th, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden will be transformed into the MUSEUM OF THE UNEXPECTED offering visitors the opportunity to celebrate Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday in the heart of Roald Dahl country. SMELL your way around the museum on the SCENTenary Trail, write your own lines for the Big Birthday Poem, explore the village with guided walks and enjoy face-painting, magic and Archive Talks throughout the day. PLUS there’s a village screening of THE BFG at the Blue Door Cinema and activities at the library. For more information, go to


Roald Dahl was a spy, ace fighter-pilot, chocolate historian and medical inventor. He was also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and many more brilliant stories.

He remains the World’s No.1 storyteller.

Born in Cardiff of Norwegian descent, Roald Dahl (1916–1990) joined the RAF at the age of 23 and began writing, initially for adults, after being injured in a plane crash during WW2.

Sitting in a hut at the bottom of his garden, surrounded by odd bits and pieces such as a suitcase (used as a footrest), his own hipbone (which he’d had replaced) and a heavy ball of metal foil (made from years’ worth of chocolate wrappers), he went on to write some of the world’s best-loved children’s stories. His first children’s story, James and the Giant Peach, was published in 1961, was a hit and every subsequent book became a best-seller.

Today, his stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, he has sold more than 250 million books. Many of these stories have also been adapted for stage and screen, including the 1971 film classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wes Anderson’s acclaimed Fantastic Mr Fox, and the multi-award winning Matilda The Musical from the RSC with music by Tim Minchin. The latest Roald Dahl story to hit the big screen is Steven Spielberg’s #1 box office blockbuster The BFG.

“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.”


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