‘Never grow up … always down.’ This excellent advice appears in George’s Marvellous Medicine, but it might have been Roald Dahl’s personal motto. Has any other children’s author known how to grow down as well as Dahl?
Dahl never condescended to his readers, but indulged their obsessions (lollies, fart jokes, nonsense neologisms) and fed their appetite for tales of the macabre and grotesque. From Revolting Rhymes to The Twits to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Matilda and many more, Dahl’s writing crackled with exuberance, imagination and irrepressible puerility. His books have been published in 59 languages with more than 200 million book sales worldwide.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth – so the Wheeler Centre will get revolting and ridiculous on stage with guests including Andy Griffiths, Jess McGuire, Kate McLennan, Tim Rogers, Anna Burke and more. They’ll wax nostalgic, perform extracts from Dahl’s vast body of work, delve into the recurring themes of his stories and discuss the life of this incomparable, sometimes controversial, author.
Join us for a celebration of snozzcumbers, swishfigglers and whoopsy-splunkers. (For health and safety reasons, all audience whizzpopping must take place outside the venue.) #Dahl100
Note: While this event is aimed at grown-ups, children are welcome!
(Event image: photograph by Michael Dyer, with illustrations by Quentin Blake.)
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.
He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian and elsewhere.
Andy Griffiths is one of the most popular children’s authors in Australia. He has written over 30 books, including nonsense verse, short stories, comic novels and plays. His books have been New York Times bestsellers, won more than eighty children’s choice awards, been adapted as theatre shows, television cartoon series and sold more than twelve million copies worldwide. He is best known as the author of the JUST! series, The Day My Bum Went Psycho and, in recent years, the bestselling Treehouse series which has been translated into over thirty languages.
Kate McLennan is an award-winning writer, stand-up comedian and actress.
Tim Rogers is one of Australia’s most enduring and respected rock icons. Tim is the frontman singer and lyricist for the legendary Australian rock bands You Am I and The Temperance Union.
Anna Burke was the elected representative for the Victorian electoral division of Chisholm in the Australian Parliament from 1998 until 2016; she served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 43rd Parliament from 2012 to 2103.
Prior to becoming Speaker, Anna served as Deputy Speaker in the both the 42nd and 43rd Parliaments as well as on a number of Parliamentary Committees including Climate Change, Environment and the Arts, Petitions, and Privileges.
Jess McGuire is a writer, DJ, broadcaster, and MC based in Melbourne. She appears regularly on ABC Local Radio and Double J as a reviewer and cultural commentator, and for many years she was the editor of pop culture website Defamer Australia. She is a former presenter of Triple R’s flagship Breakfasters show.