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A New Era of Roald Dahl

By Iqbal Hussain

 

The joy of Roald Dahl has for decades captured multiple generations’ imaginations with a variety of horrid characters for readers to delight in. 

 

Puffin has decided to grant this audience a whole new universe of stories, bringing together favourite characters and tales inspired by the much-loved world of Dahl. The reason for this new retelling is simple: Dahl’s work carries outdated and harmful language. Puffin has made the decision to change these stories and their language in line with much more updated views and opinions. 

 

One of these stories will be a new version of The Twits called The Twits Next Door, written by Greg James and Chris Smith and illustrated by Emily Jones. Following a family called the Lovelies who have the unfortunate experience of moving in next door to the Twits, you can imagine the carnage that will occur. This middle-grade story is one that fans of all ages are eager to delve into late in August 2024. However, due to recent advertising for the book depicting disability in an offensive way, co-author Greg James has issued a statement apologising for the language used about those who have prosthetic eyes. 

 

Charlie and the Christmas Factory (to be published in October 2024) is a collection of short stories by different authors who have been tasked with modernising Dahl’s stories and bringing them to a new generation of readers: the magical Matilda is concerned about being on the naughty list, George’s granddaughter Gigi follows in his marvellous potion-making footsteps and Charlie makes plans for the Christmas period at the factory.

 

A host of storytellers will be contributing to this collection, including Adam Hills, Adam Kay, Ben Bailey-Smith, Elle McNicoll, Greg James and Chris Smith (who also wrote The Twits Next Door), Hannah Gold, Konnie Huq, Nadia Shireen, Nathan Bryon, Pamela Butchart, Sally Rippin and Sibéal Pounder. Rikin Parekh will have the honour of illustrating the book, following in the footsteps of Quentin Blake.

 

Puffin’s partnership with the Roald Dahl Story Company is also publishing a whole new illustrated version of Dahl's Revolting Rhymes in May 2024. 

 

With all this and more on the horizon, it looks to be a year of re-entering and re-exploring the world of Roald Dahl. With so much at stake to address the concerns of the past, and perhaps the present as well, this will be an interesting journey for fans and publishers to observe.


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