OK Roald, your up next for editorial surgery!

In case you missed it, which is unlikely give the publicity, publishers Puffin have, according to reports, decided to rewrite potentially offensive passages found in Roald Dahl’s children’s books. Didn’t realise there were any? Well apparently there are, according to the woke brigade and, as I’ve just borrowed a set of his books to read/re-read, I’ll be sure to log them.

So it’s going to be interesting to see just what the publishers come up with – apparently this isn’t just about tinkering round the edges, the publishers so-called ‘little edits’ involve hundreds of changes and rewrites. For example: Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is described now as ‘enormous’ rather than ‘fat’. Quite why that should make it more acceptable I fail to see. Little Matilda is going to have to cope with Jane Austen rather than Rudyard Kipling. Why not Stephen King?

So there’s been a lot of criticism over unnecessary and indeed pointless changes. Even the PM, Rishi Sunak, has stated that “we shouldn’t gobblefunk around” with Dahl’s (The BFG) words.

I was amused to read a couple of comments from readers in the Metro newspaper; One suggested that Roald Dahl’s TV series should be renamed ‘Tales of the Totally Predictable’, presumably so nobody is shocked, surprised or upset by the ending. Another proposed that a principal character in Thomas the Tank Engine be renamed ‘The Excessive Body Mass Index Controller’.

Personally I’m keen to see what happens to ‘Black Beauty’, ‘The World of Poo’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’. Let’s find plenty of stories to complain about!

So the final word should go to Dahl’s BFG: “Giants is also making rules. Their rules is not suiting the human beans. Everybody is making his own rules to suit himself.”

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Notting Hill Paperback Sale

Notting Hill Editions, founded in 2011, produces some wonderful hardback editions of eminently collectable books including signed copies, subscriptions and boxed sets, by a wide selection of authors. During this month they are offering 30% off all paperbacks using the code PAPERBACK – the offer ends February 1st. Certainly worth a run through their current catalogue. Have a look at NOTTING HILL EDITIONS.

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Goodbye Fay Weldon

Sad news last week that Fay Weldon had died aged 91.

Fay wrote some 30 novels (her first in 1967) plus drama, plays and short fiction. Her 6th novel Praxis was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She also worked an advertising copywriter and is credited with the famous ‘Go to work on an egg’ campaign slogan.

Perhaps her best known work is ‘The Life and Loves of a She-Devil’ published in 1983 – dramatised on BBC TV in 1986 and later by Hollywood starring Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr. Her other credits include ITV’s Upstairs Downstairs and an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice for the BBC. She was well known for her sharp dialogue and scathing wit.

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