Roald Dahl is one of Britain’s best loved children’s authors and every year, on 13th September, his birthday is remembered and celebrated far and wide. Whether you’re celebrating in a school, at home or aboard a giant fruit, we wanted to share five of our favourite Roald Dahl facts!

1. Most of Roald Dahl’s famous stories were written in a shed at the bottom of his garden

Known as his “Writing Hut”, Dahl spent hours at a time in an old armchair writing his most well-known books.

2. Many Roald Dahl characters were based on people he knew personally

The BFG is thought to have been based on Wally Saunders, a local friend and builder of his “Writing Hut”, because of his height and distinctively large ears. Other examples include the grandmother from The Witches (his mother), Sophie from The BFG (his granddaughter).

3. Roald Dahl invented over 250 new words

Over the course of his career, Roald Dahl invented over 250 words ranging from scrumdiddlyumptious to snozzcucumbers to Oompa-Loompas. Most of these can be found in the BFG, and there’s even an official Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary you can refer to!

4. His teachers didn’t think he was very good at writing

Today he’s an internationally acclaimed author, but when he was at school his teachers didn’t think much of his writing skills. One English teacher even wrote in his report that, “I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended.”[1]

5. Roald Dahl was a fighter pilot and a spy during WWII

After receiving several injuries during his career in the RAF, Dahl was recruited by the spymaster, William Stephenson. He worked alongside Ian Fleming for MI6 to gather intelligence from Washington.

Roald Dahl’s stories are great for the classroom and help teach lessons in imagination, language, characters and storytelling. Do you still use Roald Dahl in the classroom? If so, let us know your favourite stories to teach with in the comments below!

If you want to know what Roald Dahl publications are covered by the CLA Schools Licence, you can use our handy Check Permissions tool here.

The Education Platform has a huge range of Roald Dahl books available for teachers to unlock and share extracts with students.