New game – Escape the Sharks!

This Scratch game was created by me as part of the HarvardX: CS50 Introduction to Computer Science course in January 2018. It’s based on James and the Giant Peach. You’ll need Flash enabled in your browser to play it. (You can also find the game here.)

Instructions: The giant peach is floating in the ocean but our heroes are surrounded by ravenous sharks. James has convinced Earthworm to act as bait for the many seagulls circling overhead, but his courage won’t last long! As each one swoops, James must lasso it with spider’s web before it pecks poor Earthworm. How many seagulls can you catch? James will tie each one to the peach stem as you go…

Willy Wonka concept artwork up for auction tomorrow!

On November 21, 2017, Bonhams auction house in New York City will hold an auction of movie memorabilia including many pieces from the estate of Harper Goff. Several pieces of concept artwork for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory are up for sale. (Thanks to Justin Humphreys for letting us know!)

If you want to see more of the artwork, check out the auction or our archive here.

Drawing of the Chocolate Room
Drawing of the main characters
Drawing of the Wonkamobile

New design for!

Did you notice there’s a brand new coat of paint here at The brilliant illustrator Matt Hinrichs created custom illustrations for Dahl’s stories that have formed the basis of the new look. I hope you like it!

Here’s a closer look at Matt’s artwork. Isn’t it fabulous?

Roald’s garden shed:

The man himself:

Sophie and the BFG:

Wonka’s chocolate factory:

The Grand High Witch:


Fabulous Mr. Fox:

James in the peach:


“Patricia Neal’s Struggle to Live”

Thanks to Trove, I was able to track down another long-lost Dahl essay. This one was written by Roald Dahl himself and it’s called “My Wife, Patricia Neal.” It was published in the September 22, 1965 issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly. (I believe it’s the same essay that was published as “Patricia Neal’s Struggle to Live” from the September 1965 issue of Ladies Home Journal.)

I’ve added some scans from the magazine as well as an excerpt featuring Dahl’s description of Neal’s jumbled speech during her recovery, which he later used as inspiration for the BFG’s speech. (I found it pretty shocking that they gave cigarettes and alcohol to a pregnant woman recovering from a brain injury!)

“The Amazing Eyes of Kuda Bux”

It’s not often I get to read a story by Roald Dahl that I’ve never read before! Recently I had that wonderful thrill though when I finally managed to track down a copy of Dahl’s 1952 essay “The Amazing Eyes of Kuda Bux” in an old magazine on eBay. I knew that Kuda Bux had been a real person, an Indian fakir who walked on fire and claimed to be able to see without his eyes. I knew that Dahl had written a “hard-to-believe true story” about Bux, and then twenty-five years later used him as inspiration for “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” What I hadn’t realised though was just how much of “Henry Sugar” was already present in the earlier work. I’d estimate that 90% of the fictional account of Imhrat Khan’s life in “Henry Sugar” is reproduced nearly verbatim from the earlier essay. I’ve detailed the differences between the texts here if you’re interested. I guess the lesson is that Dahl didn’t hesitate at reusing and recycling earlier work when it suited him!

Roald Dahl’s Billy and the Minpins coming this autumn

Did you know that the title of The Minpins is changing? According to this blog post from, a new edition will be published in 2017 entitled “Billy and the Minpins.” The book will also feature illustrations by Quentin Blake for the first time ever.

Luke Kelly, Managing Director of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Roald Dahl’s grandson, said: “The Minpins was Roald Dahl’s final story for children and it is the only one his principal illustrator Sir Quentin Blake has yet to illustrate… The new title is drawn from the title Roald gave to an early draft of the story. We think it’s perfect as Billy is a quintessential Roald Dahl hero and deserves to be seen in the same light as Charlie, Matilda, James, Sophie and all the other child heroes readers around the world know and love.”

You can read more over at!