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-1980

Publication of The Twits

In 1980, Roald Dahl's The Twits, featuring memorable illustrations by Quentin Blake, is published.

Roald's biographer Donald Sturrock quotes a nice phrase about The Twits in Storyteller, from a letter from editor Bob Gottileb to Roald. He said, "I like it VERY MUCH...You're right: what we want (or should want) for these little ones is stuff with meat, not the yuchy [sic] sweetly pretty material we're exposed to."

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-1981

Publication of George's Marvellous Medicine; separates from Patricia Neal

In 1981 Roald Dahl's George’s Marvellous Medicine, the story of George Kranky and his rather cranky Grandma, is published by Jonathan Cape.

This year also sees Roald separate from his wife, actress Patricia Neal, after 28 years of marriage. They have four surviving children: Tessa, Theo, Ophelia and Lucy.

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-1982

Publication of Revolting Rhymes and The BFG

1982 sees two new Roald Dahl works published: Revolting Rhymes, a collection of comic poems for children, and The BFG, a return for Roald to a character he had previously written about in Danny the Champion of the World. The character of The BFG had also appeared in stories Roald told to his own children, and he has more than once climbed up a ladder outside his daughters' bedroom and pretended to blow dreams in through the window just like The BFG. 

He later said that The BFG was one of his own favourite stories and, shortly after it was published, it won the Federation of Children's Book Groups Award.

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-1983

Marries Felicity "Liccy" Crosland; publication of The Witches, Dirty Beasts, Ghost Stories

In July 1983, Roald Dahl and his wife, actress Patricia Neal divorce after 30 years of marriage. Later that year Roald marries his second wife, Felicity ‘Liccy’ Crosland.

1983 also sees the publication of three more books: Dirty Beasts, a further collection of comic poems for children; The Witches, which won that year's Whitbread Prize and would go on to become another Roald Dahl classic; and Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories, an anthology of ghost stories by other writers selected and introduced by Roald himself.

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-1984

Publication of Boy; birth of Roald Dahl's second grandchild

In 1984, the first of two autobiographical books in which Roald Dahl looks back to his own earlier days is published. Featuring some chapters originally created during the process of writing The WitchesBoyTales of Childhood, features some of Roald's earliest memories including his childhood in Wales, holidays to Norway and his English public schooldays.

In Going Solo, published two years later, Roald continued the story of his younger years beyond the age of 18.

1984 also sees the birth of Roald's second grandchild, Clover Kelly. Clover is Tessa Dahl's second child.

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-1985

Publication of The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me

In 1985 Roald Dahl's shorter story for slightly younger readers, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, is published in the UK by Jonathan Cape and in the USA by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

In Storyteller, Donald Sturrock's biography of Roald, Donald describes The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me as "the literary equivalent of a souffle - simple, light and easily devoured." But he also reveals that "behind this effortless facade lay seven months of hard work, and a file of discards and rewrites that exceeded 300 pages."

Roald found the process of writing this book difficult. He was in a lot of pain at this point in his life, revealing in a letter to his editor Stephen Roxborough quoted in Storyteller that he had "two steel hips and a spine that has suffered no lress than six laminectomies (from war injury)."

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-1986

70th birthday; Birth of third grandchild; Publication of Going Solo and Two Fables

Roald Dahl celebrates his 70th birthday. To mark the occasion, his publishers release a limited-edition short story collection, Two Fables, which features two previously unpublished short stories written by Roald.

1986 also sees the publication of Going Solo, Roald Dahl's second autobiographical book, which continues the story of his younger life from the point he left off in Boy. It focuses on his travels in Africa and his experiences during the Second World War.

Roald's third grandchild, Luke Kelly, is also born. Luke is Tessa Dahl's third child.

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-1988

Publication of Matilda; birth of fourth grandchild

Roald Dahl's Matilda, which would become his last long children's book, is published.

It was a book Roald had had great difficulty in writing. In Storyteller, Donald Sturrock quotes Roald saying: "I had awful trouble with it... I got it wrong... the main character, the little girl kept changing."

The published book went on to enjoy great success however, and shortly after its release it was to win that year's Children's Book Award.

1988 also sees the birth of Roald's fourth grandchild, Phoebe Faircloth. Phoebe is Lucy Dahl's first child.

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-1989

Publication of Roald Dahl's Rhyme Stew and Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life; The BFG animated film release

In 1989 Roald Dahl's Rhyme Stew, a collection of comic poems for older children, and Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life - which would be the last of his adult short story collections to be released in his lifetime - are both published. 

The animated film adaptation of Roald's 1982 story The BFG, featuring the voice of David Jason as The BFG, is also released.

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