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Biography of Roald Dahl

Biography of Roald Dahl


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Roald Dahl is known as a British novelist, short story writer, fighter pilot and screenwriter.

His parents were from Norway, but he was born in Wales, 1916. The family used to spend the summer holidays on a little Norwegian island, swimming, fishing and going by boat. When Roald was four years old, his father died, so his mother had to organise the trip alone for herself and her six children.

At school, he was always homesick. At St. Peter's Prep School, all the letters home were controlled by the headmaster, and afterwards at Repton Public School, he had to wear a horrible school uniform [with braces, waist coat, hat and lots of buttons, all black]. The younger boys were often punished by the headmaster and the older boys called prefects. Roald lays much emphasis on describing the school-beatups in his book. You could get beaten for small mistakes like leaving a football sock on the floor, for burning the prefect's toast at teatime or for forgetting to change into house-shoes at six o'clock. The most terrible beatings, however, were given by the headmaster himself, who was also a clergyman. He was so cruel, that he made a pause after each beat to smoke his pipe and talk about sins and wrongdoing, while the boy had to remain kneeling. After ten beats, the victim was told to wash away the blood first, before putting on the trousers. By the way, this headmaster became later the Archbishop of Canterbury. Roald Dahl kept telling himself, that if this was one of God's chosen men, there was something going very wrong about the whole business.

After school, Roald Dahl didn't go to university, but applied for a job at the Shell company, because he was sure they would send him abroad. He was sent to East Africa, where he got the adventure he wanted: great heat, crocodiles, snakes and safaries. He lived in the jungle, learned to speak Swahili and suffered from malaria. When the second World War broke out, he went to Nairobi to join the Royal Air Force. He was a fighter pilot and shot down German planes and got shot down himself. After 6 months in hospital he flew again.

In 1942, he went to Washington as Assistant Air Attaché. There, he started writing short stories. In 1943, he published his first children's book "The Gremlins " with Walt Disney and in 1945 his first book of short stories appeared in the US. His marriage with the actress Patricia Neal was unhappy. None of their kids survived, his wife suffered a stroke. When she regained consciousness, she could hardly read, count and talk. But Roald managed to nurse her back to health, so that she could act again. Nevertheless, he got divorced in 1983 and married Felicity Crosland. He recieved several awards, such as the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

His collections of short stories have been translated into many languages and have been best-sellers all over the world. Among them are "Someone Like You ", "Sweet Mystery Of Life ", "Kiss Kiss " and "Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories ". He wrote TV series like "Tales of the Unexpected " and the novel "My Uncle Oswald ".

His books are mostly fantasy, and full of imagination. They are always a little cruel, but never without humour - a thrilling mixture of the grotesque and comic. A frequent motif is, that people are not, what they appear to be. Mary Maloney in "Lamb to the Slaughter ", for example, is not a friendly widow, but a clever murderess. In his stories, the background is perfectly worked out: details are very close to reality.

Roald Dahl didn't only write books for grown-ups, but also for children, such as "James and the Giant Peach ", "Fantastic Mr. Fox " and "The Gremlins ". About his children's stories he said once: "I make my points by exaggerating wildly. That's the only way to get through to children." Roald Dahl is perhaps the most popular and best-selling children's book author. However, these stories are so sarcastic and humorous, that also adults appreciate reading them.

Roald Dahl died in November 1990. The Times called him "one of the most widely read and influential writers of our generation"


Top Free Attractions In New York City


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Touring New York City and visiting its attractions can be a costly affair, especially if you visit the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, or attend special events and dine in fancy restaurants. However, this does not indicate that you have to empty your pockets to experience the New York life and its attractions. The city offers a fair share of landmark attractions and activities that are absolutely free and may actually present a more local insight of the city than paid attractions. Mentioned below is a list of free things to do in the city that never sleeps.

Belvedere Castle

The heart of Central Park holds one of New York’s most treasured attractions – the Belvedere Castle. Built in 1869, this Victorian castle has many exhibit rooms and an observation deck. Admission to the castle is free of charge. You can visit the site’s Henry Luce Nature Observatory, which offers diverse displays of plants and animals. If you step up the castle tower, you can get spectacular views of Central Park.

Brooklyn Bridge

Many tourists click postcard-worth pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge. But, you can also take a walk on the bridge as car whizz past you. Brooklyn Bridge has a pedestrian walkway right in the middle of its six lanes. The lane keeps you safe from the traffic and it is absolutely free to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot. It will take you approximately 30 minutes to cross the bridge and you can get to see stunning views of downtown Manhattan.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

During the great immigration, Ellis Island was the point of debarkation for immigrants upon their arrival in America. Today, Ellis Island holds a museum that pays tribute to the determination and courage of early immigrants who came to America for seek better opportunities. There is no admission charge for the museum. However, you need to purchase a ferry ticket to reach the island.

Grand Central Terminal

Built in 1913, the Grand Central Terminal is a major hub the city’s public transportation. It serves more than 575,000 commuters every day. You can stroll in the station for free and check out the shopping spots and places to eat. The grand building also exhibits beautiful artwork and sculpture. You may also chance upon special exhibitions or seasonal vendors.

Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry ride is one of the most fun and free things to do in New York City. It is a 25-minute boat ride that sails between Manhattan and St. George on Staten Island. You can also get a close view of the Statue of Liberty. Once you disembark on Staten Island, then you can spend hours on the island to discover the interesting sights and attractions. When you have your fill, you can board the ferry to return to Manhattan.

Rockefeller Center
Built during the Great Depression, Rockefeller Center continues to be an important establishment in New York City. You can view the interesting Art Deco architecture erected throughout the area. It also has a popular skating rink that operates from fall to spring.



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