Willy Wonka makes way for a new Dahl

Roald’s grand­daugh­ter So­phie keeps up au­thor’s legacy with an il­lus­trated chil­dren’s book of her own

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Pa­trick Sawer be­yond the car­peted cor­ri­dors of their sea­side home”. hl’s wing ry ations er med witz, areer n 201 thr talen illu Dubl fir have­hav been pubpu lished in sev­er­al­sever lan­guages.

WITH some­one like Roald Dahl in the fam­ily it was per­haps in­evitable his grand­daugh­ter So­phie would one day turn her hand to writ­ing chil­dren’s books.

He was, af­ter all, re­spon­si­ble for such fan­tas­ti­cal char­ac­ters as Willy Wonka, the Big Friendly Gi­ant, Esio Trot and Miss Trunch­bull

Now So­phie has cre­ated one of her own; Madame Badobe­dah, a mys­te­ri­ous old lady with a huge num­ber of pets and pos­ses­sions.

The fash­ion model, writer and TV pre­sen­ter is cur­rently in the process of com­plet­ing her first chil­dren’s book, about a sparky young girl called Ma­bel who lives in a ho­tel by the sea and an im­pe­ri­ous old lady – Madame Badobe­dah – who comes to stay, armed with a tow­er­ing pile of bags and boxes and a host of ex­otic pets.

Ma­bel’s in­ter­est is piqued by the ar­rival of this new guest, par­tic­u­larly her trunks full of gold, and the pair form an un­likely friend­ship – lead­ing to a se­ries of fan­tas­ti­cal ad­ven­tures that, as Dahl puts it, “take the pair well s

Madame Badobe­dah, Dahl’s first book for young read­ers, fol­low­ing her for­ays into fic­tion and cook­ery books, will be pub­lished in Oc­to­ber next year, with a se­ries of orig­i­nal il­lus­tra­tions by Lau­ren O’Hara.

Dahl says she was thrilled when the rights were bought by Walker Books, pub­lish­ers of work by ac­claimed chil­dren’s writ­ers An­thony Horowitz, Lucy Cousins and Polly Dun­bar.

She said: “I feel hon­oured to o be shar­ing this com­pany, and most of all feel that Madame Badobe­dah has found a great home.”

Dahl, now 41, started her ca­reer as a model, but quickly moved on to writ- ing, pub­lish­ing the il­lus­trated novella The Man With the Danc­ing Eyes in 2003. In 2007 she pub­lished her first novel, Play­ing with the Grown-ups, fol­lowed in 2009 by the best­selling cook­book Miss Dahl’s’ Volup­tuous De­lights.

The fol­low­ing year she wrote and pre­sented The De­li­cious Miss Dahl se­ries on BBC Two, fol­lowed by a doc­u­men­tary about Vic­to­rian do­mes­tic ad­viser Is­abella Bee­ton on the same chan­nel. She lives with her hus­band, the jazz mu­si­cian Jamie Cul­lum, in Great Mis­senden, Bucks, where her grand­fa­ther lived and the site of a mu­seum and story cen­tre ded­i­cated to his work. Gain­ing the rights her first chil­dren’s book is re­garded as some­thing of a coup within the pub­lish­ing world.

Emma Lid­bury, com­mis­sion­ing ed­i­tor at Walker

Books, said:

“We’re thrilled to be pub­lish­ing Madame to Badobe­dah. The un­for­get­table char­ac­ters burst off the page and to­gether with Lau­ren’s art, Madame Badobe­dah is set to be a pic­ture book clas­sic.”

Last week Dahl wrote on Twit­ter: “The se­cret I’ve been bust­ing to tell: BRIL­LIANT Walker Books will be pub­lish­ing my fi­fi­first first chil­dren’s book, MadMa ame Badobe­dah, in the au­tumn of 2019. (And then, they’ll be pub­lish­ing three more!) Lau­ren O’Hara, di­vine tal­ent, and half of the @oha­ra­sis­ters is il­lus­trat­ing!” O’Hara works in Dublin along­side her writer sissi ter Natalia. Their first two books, Hortense Horten and the Shadow and an The Band Ban­dit Queen,

So­phie Dahl, left, and, above, with her mother Tessa and Roald; Madame Badobe­dah, right

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