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.
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.