Born in 1916 in Wales, Dahl first wrote for children, publishing The Gremlins in 1943, a picture book that was planned as the basis for a Hollywood film. But that foray into children’s writing was short-lived. A successful short story about World War II written for the Saturday Evening Post propelled him into adult short stories, and his first adult novel Sometimes Never: A Fable for Superman was published in 1948. His litany of short stories also translated to television, as “The Smoker,” a story about a man and a boy making a high-stakes—and unsettling—wager, was made into two different episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. But even while Dahl wrote for adults, his fantasy-filled mind never left the world of children and he returned to that genre with his classics James and Giant Peach in 1961 and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 1964.
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