Roald Dahl had an abiding love for and interest in nature. He kept notes about the habits of moles and foxes, the colour and song of birds and the different flowers, plants and berries that blossomed in the countryside around his home, Gipsy House, throughout the year. In the last year of his life he worked on a diary. But what was originally intended to be a few lines turned into a memorable account of the passing year. Reminiscences of childhood and adolescene, combined with tips about how to rid your lawn of moles or attract birds to your garden, are interwoven with observations about the changing seasons and the festivals we celebrate.
There's a fine line between a good book and a great book – and a satisfying conclusion is definitely one of the hallmarks of the latter. Yet these iconic novels almost had very different final chapters.
Roald Dahl's 'extraordinary girl with a magical mind' was a rebel ahead of her time, and her spirit lives on in the women shaping the world today.