Roald Dahl’s Writing Sanctuary

August 18, 2010 at 9:26 pm 27 comments

Dahl's Writing ShedStudents who are fans of the writing of Roald Dahl, whether you enjoyed his children’s books (James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc.) or his more grown-up tales (Ten Short Stories, “Lamb to the Slaughter”) may be interested in this two-year-old write-up in the Guardian of Dahl’s writing sanctuary:

The whole of the inside was organised as a place for writing: so the old wing-back chair had part of the back burrowed out to make it more comfortable; he had a sleeping bag that he put his legs in when it was cold and a footstool to rest them on; he had a very characteristic Roald arrangement for a writing table with a bar across the arms of the chair and a cardboard tube that altered the angle of the board on which he wrote. As he didn’t want to move from his chair everything was within reach. He wrote on yellow legal paper with his favourite kind of pencils; he started off with a handful of them ready sharpened. He used to smoke and there is an ashtray with cigarette butts preserved to this day.

Full article here. Though it is not stated on the site, the conclusion that can be made is that this was written by Dahl’s longtime collaborator and favorite illustrator, Quentin Blake.


Entry filed under: Recreational Reading, Writing.

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27 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Benjamin Chua 1P4 (4)  |  August 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Nice description of the room. The description of how Roald wrote and how he like his chair to be, where everythig is within his reach, was very good. It also describes Roald ‘s characteristics
    and how he sat when he wrote.
    (Ignore the first comment by me)

    • 2. Kevin Li 1A3 (15)  |  August 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm

      I agree with Benjamin’s point. Roald Dahl really lived up to his reputation as a great writer. Even in such a short paragraph, Roald Dahl can describe it vividly. I can just imagine myself in that room and imagining all the things Roald Dahl is thinking as he wrote this paragraph. I really like reading Roald Dahl’s story and I really like the way he writes.

  • 3. Leow Yong Heng 1P4 (12)  |  August 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    The “writing sanctuary” of ronald dahl seems very compact. I wonder how he writes his marvelous stories in this kind of place.
    However, I think that this kind of place provides Roald Dahl with a quite environment for him to write. I have read two of Ronald Dahl’s stories and I found them very interesting.One of which was “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and the other was “Ten Short Stories.

  • 4. Ryan Lau 1P4 (11)  |  August 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    The description of Roald’s preference for how the likes the chair to remain. When I first saw the title “Roald Dahl’s Writing Sanctuary”, I thought:”Woh! It is a place for a greatest ‘inventor’ to be!” He has a habit of keeping everything on the chair

  • 5. Kevin Li 1A3 (15)  |  August 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I think that Roald Dahl really lived up to his reputation as a great writer. Such a short paragraph and yet it can be so descriptive that I myself feel that I am in the room. I can imagine the events taking place in the room. I am really impressed with Roald Dahl’s writing skills and I really like reading his writing.

  • 6. Leow Yong Heng 1P4 (12)  |  August 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I find the “writing sanctuary” of Roald Dahl very compact. I wonder how does he write with such a small place to write.However, I think that this kind of place provides him with a quite environment for him to write.I have read two of his stories myself and I found them interesting. One of which is “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and the other is ” Ten Short Stories”.

  • 7. Kevin Li 1A3 (15)  |  August 19, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Roald Dahl really lived up to his reputation as a great writer. Even in such a short paragraph, Roald Dahl can write the paragraph very vividly and I can just imagine myself in that room. I feel that Roald Dahl’s writing skills is really very good and I really like reading his books.

  • 8. Nicholas King 1A3 (10)  |  August 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    I didn’t know what type of environment Roald Dahl wrote in before reading this article, but now I do. It is, from the description, a very cozy place (the picture plays testimony) to be in. Although I have picked up a few hints of Roald Dahl’s life while reading his books (e.g. Lucky Break), this is the first time I have come across this and I am grateful to this person who has provided me with a further insight to his life.

  • 9. Samuel Low  |  August 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I feel that through the description of Roald’s room I am able to know more about Roald’s hadbits like smoking,and what does he do,really intrigues me to find out more about his lifestyle,as I feel that the way he organized and did things were very unique.

  • 10. Keith Tan  |  August 19, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Through this vivid description of this room, I now know how Roald Dahl lived last time and what habits he had, such as smoking. He also had a rather weird lifestyle, cooping in his room and just writing more books and more books.

  • 11. Yang Zhenyan 1O433  |  August 19, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    The room of Roald Dahl’s room made me realise that he was so obsessed with writing and smoking, with his favourite pens and pencils to the ashtray that lies till this day. I now then knew how he lived and worked in such conditions. At first, I did not spare a thought for his living conditions…

  • 12. Yang Zhenyan 1O433  |  August 19, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    The description of Roald Dahl’s room were well described. From He wrote on yellow legal paper with his favourite kind of pencils to He used to smoke and there is an ashtray with cigarette butts preserved to this day. This tells me about the living conditions of Roald Dahl and at first, I did not even spare a thought for the conditions he worked in.

  • 13. Tan Jun Jie  |  August 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    I like the description of his room, just like Benjamin in the first post.
    His room looks very untidy, very messy everywhere but he has a unique way of liking the state of his room now. He smokes, puts the cigarette butts into a tray and that shows that he likes to smoke. He also placed his legs on footstool in a sleeping bag when it is cold and sleeps on the sofa, whichs means that he does not sleep on the bed and that is very unique.

  • 14. Lin wei chen  |  August 19, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Roald dahl’s room is well preserved because his ashtray still has his cigarette butts. I like the description of his writing room as it described the room in details like ‘ the old wing-back chair had part of the back burrowed out to make it more comfortable’ and ‘ He wrote on yellow legal paper ‘.

  • 15. Tan Chuan Xin (1P424)  |  August 19, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    I think that all writer’s have their own unique writing environments, a place in which they would cook up ideas for a fantastic story. Roald Dahl is a great example of this. His writing space is out-of-bounds to most people, as it is a place where he treasures the most, the place that gave birth to many of his ideas. His room is arranged in such a way that he does not need to move much to get what he wants. This shows just shows Roald Dahl’s love for writing. His writing space is unique entirely to him, a personal haven for thinking, and I feel that all budding writer’s should have a room like his.

  • 16. Haung Tianle 1O4 10  |  August 19, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I am amazed by his living condition. Although he is one of my favorite authors, I was unaware of his living condition until now. As everything he needed was within his reach from his armchair, i can conclude that Roal Dahl was very engrossed in his writing.

  • 17. peiyu zhou  |  August 19, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Extraordinary, to think such a celebrated writer will have to leave in conditions like this, i am surprised, astonished, when reading Roald Dahl, “going solo”, he did mention his house but i did not know that it was so shabby and yet comfy.

    I imagined the gyspy house yo be of a decent size and not that messy. However it is not for me to critiicise this as each person has its own preferences. So to say that Roald Dahl is wrong to live an write in such conditions is wrong.Maybe he ican only work and wite well in these conditions.

    Well in my opinion, i think that the description is very well done and well elaborated.

  • 18. Tan Chuan Xin  |  August 19, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    I feel that all writer’s should have their own personal writing space, as it is a private place for them to write and think. I think that the reason behind Roald Dahl’s succes is precisely because of this. His writing room, is out of bounds to most people, and this shows that he treasures it a lot. Also, the room is very comfortable, so he can stay in it for long hours without feeling uncomfortable. I feel that all writer’s should have such a room, dedicated to writing.

  • 19. Ryan Tan Yi Wei (1O4/22)  |  August 19, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    First I want to say that Roald Dahl was an amazing writer to be able to produce these books that is loved by millions of people in the world. I am extremely amazed by this article. When people went to ask where did all the genius took place, they will be shocked that it is just a normal room that is probably messier. Many people would be amazed by this. I feel that everyone should have a place they can be by theirselves where they can be comfortable to do their work.

  • 20. Chong Chee Yuan  |  August 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    I feel that his room is a little bit messy. However, if the writer finds the way that room is comfortable to him and can increase efficiency in writing his books, there is no right or wrong in the setting of the his home. The whole comfort depends on the owner of the room

  • 21. Lee Juo Shuen  |  August 19, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    From the description of the room, I can already experience how cosy the room was. I can not help but imagine Roald Dahl sitting in that chair, weaving tales that we children now adore and cant get enough of. If I were a writer, I would definitely want a place with the kind of atmosphere that Roald Dahl’s writing sanctuary has.

  • 22. Tan Yu Xiang(27) 1O4  |  August 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Even though the room seems to be very messy and dirty to me, i believe it is a very cozy place. If i were to put myself in the armchair, i believe i would feel very warm and cozy. In that kind of shed where i would not need to move out of the armchair, feeling warm and cozy, it would be a great place for a writer to write his book. I also think that memorabilia by the side was to give Roald Dalh inspiration to write his next book. I guess the location would greatly affect the quality of a book and with such a great shed, it is no wonder Roald Dalh could write such amazing books.

  • 23. Chan You Quan  |  August 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I feel that it is not where someone writes a book but how and what a person writes in a book is what that matters. Should a author have a very cozy place to write a book but he writes it horribly, the book is worthless. However, if it was well written, the profits would be more than enough for a good writing enviroment

  • 24. Kean Murphy  |  August 23, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    All writers need a place to write, and Roald Dahl’s Writing Sanctuary is no exception. He did not allow anyone into his shed as they would probably disrupt his train of thoughts. The closed windows also signify that he did not want to be distracted. Also, the whole room was suited to fit his needs and ensure that he had a comfortable environment to write. Without this shed for him to write in, we probably would not be able to enjoy the interesting stories that are now bestsellers across the globe

  • 25. Adlan Raid  |  August 26, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I always wondered where the great process of placing pen on paper in a flurry of imagination, also known as writing, took place for renowned authors. I never thought that Roald Dahl would write in such a comfortable yet comical place. He has certainly made some amusing changes to the various items in the room. Then again, this is expected as he IS the author who wrote one of my childhood favourites, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

  • 26. Kwek Zheng Hua  |  August 26, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    The description of the room was rather vivid. It lets us understand what circumstances he is under when he is writing, and then clarifies how he manages to churn out such good stories. With such a good sanctuary it’s no wonder that his works were all wonderful!

  • 27. 2010 In Review « HCI Kong Chian Library  |  January 2, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    […] Roald Dahl’s Writing Sanctuary August 2010 26 comments 5 […]


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