Roald Dahl Day kicked off on Wednesday (13th September) with the annual global celebration of the author on his birthday with a range of celebrations, activities and new titles.
To mark the day, Roald Dahl’s characters have "popped up" at locations around the UK - Cardiff Castle, the National Trust’s Giant’s Causeway, Manchester Central Library, Nottingham Railway Station, the Cambridge Theatre in London as well as the Eden Project - following a "unique collaboration" between the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Lego. Six Roald Dahl heroes have been built by Duncan Titmarsh, the UK’s "only Lego certified professional", and his team with 102,937 bricks are involved in the six builds.
A host of other celebrations are taking place across the UK coordinated by the Roald Dahl Literary Estate. A free party pack is available to download “in the spirit of Billy and the Minpins” while the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, has a range of themed events including Minpin-inspired trails into the countryside. There will also be the “Dahlicious Dress Up Day” in schools which raises money for charity and a new “Wonka-inspired emoji” will be added to every tweet which uses #RoaldDahlDay.
A host of publishing launches have also accompanied the celebrations this year. The recently-unveiled Roald Dahl adaptation from personalised children’s publisher Wonderbly, My Golden Ticket, "guides the reader through weird and wonderful" confection invention rooms by an Oompa-Loompa. The joint IP venture between Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Wonderbly, previously known as Say My Name, was announced in April and is billed as a “delicious literary adventure” with sweet-based "discoveries" based on the letters of the reader's own name.
The partnership, inspired by Dahl’s 1964 classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Puffin) presents a “magical new Wonka experience where no two adventures are the same…incorporating Wonderbly’s unique blend of storytelling, design and technology”. My Golden Ticket was published on 7th September and is only available from the Wonderbly website retailing at at £19.99 in softcover and £27.99 in hardcover.
Last month Penguin published four collections of his adult short stories, Fear, Innocence, Trickery and War, featuring some of his “most sinister tales” with illustrations by Charming Baker, to tie in with the Roald Dahl Day celebrations - it is the first time his adult short stories have been collected since 1989. The audiobooks, which were also released on August 10th, feature the voices of actors such as Tom Felton, Rory Kinnear, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Kevin Eldon.
Penguin Random House has also published a "reimagined" interpretation of the Roald Dahl’s final children’s book , originally known as The Minpins, in a “striking hardback edition” retitled as Billy and the Minpins and features Quentin Blake’s black-and-white line illustrations. Dahl originally contemplated calling the book Billy and the Minpins but it was retitled before being published by PRH imprint, Jonathan Cape, in 1991. The new edition was published by Puffin on 7th September.
The annual Puffin Live broadcast will take place from 2pm, broadcast to schools around the country. CBBC’s Katie Thistleton will delve into the Roald Dahl Museum’s archives to discover more about the author and his inspirations. For more information, visit puffinvirtuallylive.com.