Home Libraries: Roald Dahl

by Anna Blanch on April 4, 2013

When Roald Dahl moved to Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire in 1965, he built a small writing hut (you can take a 3-D tour here) for himself. Dahl’s family has kept the hut much like it was when the author died, but even during his life it was a pretty dark, bare bones, ramshackle sort of place. No one could enter the hut but Dahl himself, and no one was allowed to clean it either; it reeked of tobacco and the floor was covered with pencil shavings and cigarette ash.

Within the hut, Dahl would sit in a big chair (because desks hurt the back he injured in WWII) and write on a large pad of paper (he didn’t type).

The solitude of his hut inspired Dahl’s creativity; he wrote all of his children’s stories from within its little walls. Here’s how Dahl described the power of the place:

“You become a different person, you are no longer an ordinary fellow who walks around and looks after his children and eats meals and does silly things, you go into a completely different world. I personally draw all the curtains in the room, so that I don’t see out the window and put on a little light which shines on my board. Everything else in your life disappears and you look at your bit of paper and get completely lost in what you’re doing. You do become another person for a moment. Time disappears completely. You may start at nine in the morning and the next time you look at your watch, when you’re getting hungry, it can be lunchtime. And you’ve absolutely no idea that three or fours hours have gone by.”

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