Oxford Dictionary of National Biography podcast: Roald Dahl, author of Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
By the end of his life Dahl was bitter at not receiving the knighthood that he felt he deserved, and he became increasingly self-important, ordering a Rolls-Royce from his publisher’s to collect manuscripts from his home. He was 6 feet 6 inches tall, a chain-smoker, a lover of fine wine, a collector of contemporary painting, a grower of roses and orchids, a picture restorer, and a gambler on horses. He looked after 100 budgerigars that flew wild around his garden. He was a chocaholic. In the garden hut where he wrote he kept a huge silver ball made by packing together the silver paper from all the chocolate bars he ate. He also kept there as a trophy to show visitors one of his arthritic hip bones which had been replaced.
The story of Roald Dahl is one of over 200 episodes available from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’s podcast archive. New episodes are released every second Wednesday.
Image: Roald Dahl, by the Library of Congress. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.