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Roald Dahl

When Roald Dahl said, "I am an old man full of metal," he wasn't kidding around. "The head of my femur (that's the large round bone of the hip joint) has been sawn off on both sides and a fearsome stainless-steel spike with a ball on top has been hammered into the hollow of my thighbone and glued into place."

"What on earth, you will ask, has all this got to do with writing books for children? Quite a lot and I'll tell you why. It turns the body into a rickety structure and a rickety structure is no good for climbing trees or going for long walks. It prefers to be sitting comfortably in an armchair with a writing board on the lap and the feet resting on a suitcase. Thus it encourages my work and the only work I know is writing books."

Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916 and educated in English boarding schools from the age of nine until twenty. During World War II, he was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot in North Africa and Greece. When his active duty was completed, he was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he was asked to write about some of his adventures. "A Piece of Cake," his first published work, was an account of a fighter plane crashing in Libya. His first piece of fiction was called "The Gremlins," a story about little creatures who make trouble for the Royal Air Force by drilling holes in the planes and wreaking general havoc.

Fifteen years later, Roald Dahl found himself telling bedtime stories to his children over and over again, and those were the basis for James and the Giant Peach, his first published children's novel. After that came Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to be followed by many others, including The BFG, The Witches, and Matilda.

Every book of Roald Dahl's was written in a little brick hut in the apple orchard about two hundred yards away from his home. He wrote them all in pencil ("I never could type"), sometimes with an old sleeping bag wrapped around him, since there was only a paraffin stove to heat the drafty hut. "When I am up here," he said, "I see only the paper I am writing on, and my mind is far away with Willy Wonka or James or Mr. Fox or Danny or whatever else I am trying to cook up. The room itself is of no consequence. It is out of focus, a place for dreaming and floating and whistling in the wind."

Things that Roald Dahl wrote about himself:

I have a passion for paintings and have collected them for many years.

I make good orange marmalade.

I breed orchids and am a keen gardener.

I eat lots of chocolate.

The only dish I have never eaten is tripe.

Beethoven is wonderful.

Pop singers are horrible.

I would like to have been a good doctor.

I have had eight major operations, three on the hips, five on the spine, and countless smaller ones.

Kindness is more important than piety.

I wish my dog could talk to me.

More can be learned about Roald Dahl in his autobiographical Boy: Tales of Childhood and Going Solo, as well as in the chapter called "Lucky Break" in The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. Roald Dahl died in 1990 at the age of seventy-four. Although the world lost one of its most beloved authors, what he has left behind is a rich library of wonderful tales for children of today and tomorrow to discover and enjoy.


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Roger Daniels

Roger Daniels, author of Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II, is a renowned expert on immigration, consultant to PBS and the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, and expert witness on Japanese-American internment.


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Dante

Dante Alighieri, or simply Dante (1265 – 1321), was an Italian poet from Florence. His central work, the Divina Commedia (originally called "Commedia" and later called "Divina" (divine) by Boccaccio hence "Divina Commedia"), is considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.


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John Darnton

John Darnton, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award for his journalism, is culture editor for The New York Times and the author of two novels, The Experiment and Neanderthal. He lives in New York.


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Jerry Davila

Jerry Dávila (Ph.D., Brown University) is Jorge Paulo Lemann professor of Brazilian History at the University of Illinois. He is the author of Dictatorship in South America; Hotel Trópico: Brazil and the Challenge of African Decolonization, winner of the Latin Studies Association Brazil Section Book prize; and of Diploma of Whiteness: Race and Social Policy in Brazil, 1917-1945. He has served as president of the Conference on Latin American History.


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Dr. Natalie Zemon Davis

Natalie Zemon Davis is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. Her books include Slaves on Screen: Film and Historical Vision and Woman on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives. She lives in Toronto, Canada


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Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth Davis is the Coordinator of the interdisciplinary Writing Certificate Program at the University of Georgia, where she is a faculty member in the Department of English. She teaches a variety of advanced writing courses and also facilitates the faculty Writing Fellows program. Her research focuses on writing and technology and she has written and presented on a variety of topics including the technological infrastructures for writing programs, and the rhetoric of Tumblr. As part of a Cohort VI member team of the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research she and her colleagues at UGA are investigating assessment methods and material practices in e-portfolio pedagogy. She is co-author (with Nedra Reynolds) of Portfolio Keeping: A Guide for Students, Third Edition.


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John M. Davis

John Davis received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Auburn University in 1998 and joined the faculty at Baylor University in 1999.  His interdisciplinary research in ordinary and partial differential equations, hybrid dynamical systems, and applications to control theory and signal processing has been funded by the National Science Foundation, resulting in more than 50 peer reviewed publications. He won the Mathematical Association of America’s Distinguished University Teaching Award in 2009.


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Julio de Paula

Julio de Paula is a Professor of Chemistry at Lewis and Clark College. A native of Brazil, Professor de paula received a B.A. degree in chemistry from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Yale University.  His research activities encompass the areas of molecular spectroscopy, biophysical chemistry, and nanoscience.  He has taught courses in general chemistry, physical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, instrumental analysis and writing.


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Tatiana de Rosnay

TATIANA DE ROSNAY is the author of ten novels, including the New York Times bestselling novel Sarah’s Key, an international sensation with over 4 million copies sold in thirty-five countries worldwide that has now been made into a major film to be released in Spring, 2011. Together with Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer, and Stieg Larsson, she was named one of the top ten fiction writers in Europe in 2009.  Tatiana lives with her husband and two children in Paris, where she is at work on her next novel.


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