THE FIRST AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF ROALD DAHL, STORYTELLER IS A MASTERFUL, WITTY AND INCISIVE LOOK AT ONE OF THE GREATEST AUTHORS AND ECCENTRIC CHARACTERS OF THE MODERN AGE.
In his lifetime Roald Dahl pushed children’s literature into uncharted territory, and today his popularity around the globe continues to grow, with millions of his books sold every year. But the man behind the mesmerizing stories has remained largely an enigma. A single-minded adventurer and an eternal child who gave us the iconic Willy Wonka and Matilda Wormwood, Dahl was better known during his lifetime for his blunt opinions on taboo subjects—he was called an anti-Semite, a racist and a misogynist—than for his creative genius. His wild imagination, dark humor and linguistic elegance were less than fully appreciated by critics and readers alike until after his death.
Granted unprecedented access to the Dahl estate’s extraordinary archives—personal correspondence, journals and interviews with family members and famous friends—Donald Sturrock draws on a wealth of previously unpublished materials that informed Dahl’s writing and his life. It was a life filled with incident, drama and adventure: from his harrowing experiences as an RAF fighter pilot and his work in wartime intelligence, to his many romances and turbulent marriage to the actress Patricia Neal, to the mental anguish caused by the death of his young daughter Olivia. Tracing a brilliant yet tempestuous ascent toward notoriety, Sturrock sheds new light on Dahl’s need for controversy, his abrasive manner and his fascination for the gruesome and the macabre.
A remarkable biography of one of the world’s most exceptional writers, Storyteller is an intimate portrait of an intensely private man hindered by physical pain and haunted by family tragedy, and a timely reexamination of Dahl’s long and complex literary career.
Donald Sturrock was born in 1961 and grew up in England and South America. After reading Modern History at Oxford University, he joined BBC Television's Music and Arts Department, where he worked as both producer and director between 1983 and 1992. After leaving the BBC, he wrote and directed The Graham Greene Trilogy for BBC2's ARENA series. Sturrock also directed a four-part series for the BBC, Plácido Domingo's Tales at the Opera and two award-winning television series for IMG Artists and Idéale Audience, The Art of Singing and the Grammy award nominated The Art of Piano, as well as, An Awfully Big Adventure and The Human Face (with John Cleese). In collaboration with an international team of composers, Sturrock has adapted and directed a series of musical versions of Roald Dahl's children's stories.
“A major literary biography…packed with intimate details, sharply intelligent commentary and surprising revelations. I can't sing its praises enough.” —Michael Dirda, Best Nonfiction of 2010, The Washington Post
“Authoritative . . . a careful, loving outline of a difficult man.” —Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review
“A sprawling entertainment packed with anecdote and incident . . . an engaging tale with satisfying episodes of glamour, intrigue, failure and renewal.” —William Georgiades, The Wall Street Journal
“Sturrock captures the spirit of the man, his need to charm and entertain as well as his 'almost adolescent desire to annoy'.” —Barbara Fisher, The Boston Globe