Today - 13th September 2010 - is Roald Dahl Day! It is the 5th annual day celebrating one of the world's best loved storytellers. Children and adults alike have read and enjoyed his numerous books; they've been turned into films and TV series; and his novels still crop up on all those lists of 'Best' books.
Click on Roald Dahl's website for a full list of what is going on today, but here are a few teasers:
* Every year, there’s a Roald Dahl City Read at the heart of the Roald Dahl Day celebrations. This year, it’s grown bigger than ever and taken over a whole region to become the Roald Dahl Black Country Creative Challenge. Every man, woman and child in the region will be encouraged to read Roald Dahl’s MATILDA during September 2010.
* The “Everything You Wanted to Know About Roald Dahl” roadshow - staged in association with the award-winning Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre - gives hundreds of schoolchildren in five locations the chance to pose fiendish questions to Roald Dahl experts and surprise VIP guests! This year, the five event locations will be Cheltenham, Dublin, Fife, Stratford (East London) and Wolverhampton.
* Anticipation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new musical version of Roald Dahl’s MATILDA – book by Dennis Kelly, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, directed by Matthew Warchus – which opens at the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon on November 9th for a 12-week run. For more information, go to www.matildamusical.com.
* On Sunday September 12th, there will be a Roald Dahl Day event at the RSC as part of the Roald Dahl Black Country Creative Challenge.
* Quentin Blake, former Children’s Laureate and Roald Dahl’s principal illustrator, will appear in a special event at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon on December 4th.
* The third annual Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize, which awards prizes to the funniest children’s books of the year - in two age categories; picture books and books for older children. The award was set up by Michael Rosen in conjunction with Booktrust. Michael will again chair the judging panel – which this year includes comedienne Shappi Khorsandi, author Philip Ardagh (a winner in 2009), illustrator Bruce Ingman (a winner in 2009) and children’s books expert and author Nicolette Jones. The shortlist will be announced on September 17th; the winners on November 17th.
* On Saturday September 11th, there will be a Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize event at the National Theatre, featuring Michael Rosen, Philip Ardagh and other special guests. For more information and to book tickets, please go to http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/platforms.
* Great Missenden, where Roald Dahl lived and wrote, will provide a focus for festivities, with a day of special events on September 12th at the award-winning Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. There’ll be MATILDA themed storytelling, village trails, craft activities, magic, face-painting, behind-the-scenes tours of the Roald Dahl archive AND, courtesy of the RSC, an opportunity to find out more about their forthcoming production of Roald Dahl’s MATILDA.
* On Sunday September 12th, there will also be a special opening of Roald Dahl’s garden at Gipsy House, Great Missenden, in aid of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity (formerly the Roald Dahl Foundation). The garden, which will be open from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, is full of delights including Roald Dahl’s iconic writing hut and Danny’s gipsy caravan. Admission to this event is free, with voluntary donations to Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity gratefully received. This event will be attended by several Roald Dahl Nurses – specialist children’s nurses funded by the charity.
* 70 branches of Waterstone’s stores nationwide will be staging Roald Dahl Day events throughout September.
* The Birmingham Stage Company production of Roald Dahl’s classic tale GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE - is on tour throughout 2010 and arrives at Swansea’s Taliesin Arts Centre on September 14th. For more information on the tour, go to www.birminghamstage.com/shows/georges_marvellous_medicine.
* New publishing: STORYTELLER: ROALD DAHL by Donald Sturrock is the first ever authorised biography of Roald Dahl, written with exclusive access to his private papers, manuscripts and hundreds of newly-discovered letters. Published by HarperPress on September 2nd. For further information, please contact Helen Ellis at HarperCollins on (020) 8307 4250.
* New publishing: For the very first time, THE TWITS – Roald Dahl’s most hilarious and anarchic story, is being published with full colour artwork by Quentin Blake. Published by Puffin Books on September 2nd. For further information, please contact Tania Vian-Smith at Puffin Books on (020) 7010 3058.
* New publishing: Puffin Books is also publishing WILLY WONKA’S WHIPPLESCRUMPTIOUS ANNUAL – the first EVER Roald Dahl Annual, bursting with story extracts, games, puzzles, a guide to Gobblefunk and ideas to make and do. Published by Puffin Books on August 5th. For further information, please contact Tania Vian-Smith at Puffin Books on (020) 7010 3058.
* New publishing: For the first time for many years, the COMPLETE collection of Roald Dahl’s works for children will be available in beautiful new hardback editions. Published by Puffin Books and Random House Children’s Books on September 2nd. For further information, please contact Tania Vian-Smith at Puffin Books on (020) 7010 3058 or Kelly Tapper at RHCB on (020) 8231 6648.
* New publishing: As part of its 70th anniversary celebrations, Puffin is releasing a “Designer Puffin” edition of Roald Dahl’s classic JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, designed by British sculptor Anthony Gormley. A limited numbered edition of 1000 are being published on September 2nd, priced at £100 each.
* Roald Dahl in Welsh: 2010 marks the publication of the 10th Roald Dahl book, in Welsh. Y Twits will be launched on Monday 13th September, Roald Dahl Day 2010 and will form part of the Welsh Roald Dahl Day celebrations centred in Cardiff Bay. For more on the Welsh versions of Roald Dahl’s books, visit www.rily.co.uk or visit www.gwales.com
How do you plan on celebrating Roald Dahl? Will you be re-reading any of his classic novels? Which is your favourite?