Great­est story writer turns 100

Mansfield Courier - - COURIER OPINIONS/PEOPLE -

WHO would have thought that more than 60 lo­cal chil­dren could get so ex­cited about some­one turn­ing 100 years old?

Well that’s what hap­pened at the Mans­field Li­brary last Thurs­day when al­most 70 chil­dren, par­ents, grand­par­ents and li­brary staff and even three Oompa Loom­pas cel­e­brated the 100th birth­day for chil­dren’s writer Roald Dahl.

Staff dressed ap­pro­pri­ately in fancy dress, a huge birth­day cake was cut, happy birth­day was sung, sto­ries were read and games and colour­ing ac­tiv­i­ties taken part in – all in cel­e­bra­tion.

With fruit, cake and drinks all de­voured it was then off home for the chil­dren who had thor­oughly en­joyed yet an­other fan­tas­tic event at the lo­cal li­brary – and all en­cour­aged to keep on read­ing.

Roald Dahl was a Bri­tish nov­el­ist, short story writer, poet, screen­writer, and fighter pi­lot.

His books have sold over 250 mil­lion copies world­wide.

Born in Wales to Nor­we­gian par­ents, Dahl served in the Royal Air Force dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, in which he be­came a fly­ing ace and in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer, ris­ing to the rank of act­ing wing com­man­der.

Ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia he rose to promi­nence in the 1940s with works for both chil­dren and adults and he be­came one of the world’s best-sell­ing authors.

He has been re­ferred to as “one of the great­est sto­ry­tellers for chil­dren of the 20th cen­tury”.

His awards for con­tri­bu­tion to lit­er­a­ture in­clude the 1983 World Fan­tasy Award for Life Achieve­ment, and the Bri­tish Book Awards’ Chil­dren’s Author of the Year in 1990.

In 2008, The Times placed Dahl 16th on its list of “The 50 great­est Bri­tish writers since 1945”.

Dahl’s s hort s t ories are known for their un­ex­pected end­ings and his chil­dren’s books for their un­sen­ti­men­tal, macabre, of­ten darkly comic mood, fea­tur­ing vil­lain­ous adult en­e­mies of the child char­ac­ters.

His books cham­pion t he kind-hearted, and fea­ture an un­der­ly­ing warm sen­ti­ment.

Dahl’s works for chil­dren in­clude James and the Gi­ant Peach, Char­lie and the Cho­co­late Fac­tory, Matilda, The Witches, Fan­tas­tic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits and Ge­orge’s Marvel­lous Medicine.

His adult works in­clude Tales of the Un­ex­pected.

DAHL CHAR­AC­TERS: Cel­e­brat­ing the 100th birth­day of author Roald Dahl were (from left) Deb West­phalen and Kristy Ma­her (The Witches), Jus­tine Shel­ton (Willy Wonka), Jane Di­plock (Miss Trunch­bull), Kirsten Lin­gard (Veruca Salt), Dan Pur­cell (Mr Fox),...

GI­ANT CAKE: Enough to feed the hun­dred was this cel­e­bra­tion cake made by High Coun­try Bak­ery and dec­o­rated by li­brar­ian Jus­tine Shel­ton.

LET’S CEL­E­BRATE: Li­brar­i­ans Sharyn Howlett and Jus­tine Shel­ton gather the 60 plus chil­dren in to light the birth­day can­dles and sing happy birth­day be­fore di­vid­ing up the cake - all in hon­our of Roald Dahl’s con­tri­bu­tion to lit­er­a­ture.

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