Donald Sturrock - Love from Boy - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781444786286
    • Publication date:02 Mar 2017
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    • ISBN:9781444786262
    • Publication date:02 Jun 2016

Love from Boy

Roald Dahl's Letters to his Mother

By Donald Sturrock
Read by Andrew Wincott and Thomas Judd

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On the 100th anniversary of his birth comes a revelatory collection of letters from the nation's favourite storyteller.

'Dear Mama,
I am having a lovely time here. We play football every day here. The beds have no springs . . .'

So begins the first letter that a nine-year-old Roald Dahl penned to his mother, Sofie Magdalene, under the watchful eye of his boarding-school headmaster. For most of his life, Roald Dahl would continue to write weekly letters to his mother, chronicling his adventures, frustrations and opinions, from the delights of childhood to the excitements of flying as a World War II fighter pilot and the thrill of meeting top politicians and movie stars during his time as a diplomat and spy in Washington. And, unbeknown to Roald, his mother lovingly kept every single one of them.

Sofie was, in many ways, Roald's first reader. It was she who encouraged him to tell stories and nourished his desire to fabricate, exaggerate and entertain. Reading these letters, you can see Roald practicing his craft, developing the dark sense of humour and fantastical imagination that would later produce such timeless tales as The BFG, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches.

The letters in Love from Boy are littered with jokes and madcap observations; sometimes serious, sometimes tender, and often outrageous. To eavesdrop on a son's letters to his mother is to witness Roald Dahl turning from a boy to a man, and finally becoming a writer.

Praise for Storyteller

'A truly magnificent biography . . . a masterly account' A N Wilson

'Superb . . . hugely readable' Sunday Telegraph

(P)2016 John Murray Press

Letters by Roald Dahl © 2016 Roald Dahl Nominee Ltd. Introduction, essays, selection and compilation copyright © 2016 Donald Sturrock.

Biographical Notes

Roald Dahl was a spy, ace fighter-pilot, chocolate historian and medical inventor. He was also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and many more brilliant stories. He remains the world's number one storyteller.

Donald Sturrock grew up in England and South America. After leaving university he joined the BBC, where he wrote and produced television documentaries, including one about Roald Dahl. Since leaving the corporation, he has translated plays and written five opera librettos. He is the author of critically acclaimed biography of Roald Dahl, Storyteller, which was longlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize 2011 and won the Spear's Book Award for Biography 2011.

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  • ISBN: 9781473631403
  • Publication date: 02 Jun 2016
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: John Murray
A touching collection that throws new light on one of the greatest of all children's book writers . . . The sense of humour, often dark and subversive, that would come to delight the readers of Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches, dances through the pages of this wonderful book . . . Each chronological subdivision of this lovely book is illustrated with drawings, maps and photographs and prefaced by Donald Sturrock's exemplary editorial explanations. The letters become a delightfully original form of biography, as their author changes from child into student, into trainee fighter pilot in Iraq and Egypt, wartime daredevil in Greece and Palestine, diplomat in Washington, and unlikely British spy — Juliet Nicolson, Evening Standard
Love From Boy, in all its cunning unreliability, becomes more fascinating the more you think about it. It is a work of showmanship, written for someone to whom the author would always be a child. As the backdrop to one of the world's greatest children's writers, it's so wonderfully complicated you'd have thought even Dahl couldn't have made it up. Except that he did — Daily Telegraph
Sturrock's carefully chosen letters, complemented by a judicious selection of biographical and photographic material, testify to a bond between mother and son that is unbreakable, even in the face of boarding school, war and sexual jokes about Hitler — The Times, Book of the Week
Sturrock is right to claim that the letters to his mother show, in embryo, essential features of Dahl's art, such as his fantastical imagination and his sadistic sense of humour — Sunday Times
[An] entertaining and eye-opening collection . . . it is his younger self that is captured here - jaunty and anarchic, yet a recognisable forerunner of that more subtly anarchic, stooping, cardiganed figure who was the world-famous author, gazing out on the world from his garden shed with watery, mischievous eyes — Literary Review
[An] enjoyable selection from Dahl's devoted four-decade correspondence with his mother . . . an intriguing mixture of absolute intimacy, a total disregard for priggishness or decorum, fierce candour, and, in certain respects, a complete absence of it — Guardian
Sturrock's commentary on the letters is meticulous, thoughtful and kind. Anyone looking for revelations, kiss and tell or psychoanalytic exposure will be disappointed. It's a fascinating view of an extraordinary mid-20th century, upper-middle-class British boy and man talking to his extraordinary Norwegian mother — Michael Rosen, Observer
It offers an insight not only to Dahl's close relationship with his mother but also a glimpse into how he became one of the greatest children's authors of the 20th century — Independent
A fascinating collection — Mail on Sunday
Lovingly edited and deftly commented upon by his biographer Donald Sturrock — Spectator
John Murray

Dear Mr Murray

David McClay
Authors:
David McClay

The publishing house of John Murray was founded in Fleet Street in 1768 and remained a family firm over seven generations. Published to coincide with this remarkable achievement' and in the anniversary year, Dear Mr Murray is a collection of some of the best letters from the hundreds of thousands held in the John Murray Archive. They reveal not only the story of some of the most interesting and influential books in history, but also the remarkable friendships - as well as occasional animosities - between author and publisher, as well as readers, editors, printers and illustrators.Despite the incredible number of letters that were retained by the Murray family, some failed to arrive, others were delayed and some barely survived, but longevity added to the reputation and fame of John Murray and a correspondent in Canada who addressed his letter merely to 'John Murray, The World-wide famous Book & Publishing House, London, England' as early as 1932 could be confident that his letter would arrive.Intended to entertain and inspire, and spanning more than two hundred years, Dear Mr Murray is full of literary history and curiosities: from Charles Darwin's response to the negative reviews of On the Origin of Species to Adrian Conan Doyle challenging Harold Nicolson to a duel for insulting his father in the press; from David Livingstone's displeasure at the proposed drawing of a lion to represent his near-death encounter in Missionary Travels to William Makepeace Thackeray apologising for his drunken behaviour; from Byron berating John Murray for being fooled by his girlfriend's forgery of his signature to the poet James Hogg so desperate for money that he claims he won't be able to afford a Christmas goose; and from Jane Austen expressing concern about printing delays to Patrick Leigh Fermor beseeching Jock Murray not to visit him until he'd completed A Time of Gifts. Complemented by illustrations and reproductions of letters and envelopes, this is the perfect gift for book lovers everywhere.

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Authors:
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For all fans of Call the Midwife - a touching memoir of a young health visitor in postwar England. After serving as a nurse in WW2, Molly Corbally joined the brand new NHS and became one of the first official District Health Visitors, attending to mothers and babies from all walks of life in the picturesque village near Coventry she came to call home. Social work was uncharted territory at the time, and Britain was very much worse for wear - TB, polio, measles and whooping cough were just some of the hazards new babies faced. Social conditions could also add to the problems, and poverty and alcoholism were rife. Armed with only her nursing training, her common sense and a desire to serve, Molly set out to win over a community and provide a new and valuable service. As well as the challenges there was also joy and laughter, from the woman who finally had a baby after fifteen years of trying, to the woman who thought she should use marmalade as nappy cream, because the hospital had never taken the label off the jar they were using to store it.Warm, witty and moving, An Armful of Babies is a vivid portrait of rural England in the post-war years, and a testament to an NHS in its own infancy and to what hasn't changed: the bond between parents and their children, and the importance of protecting that.

Teach Yourself

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Hodder & Stoughton

Should You Ask Me

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Marianne Kavanagh

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Two Roads

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Hodder Paperbacks

My Mad Fat Diary

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Authors:
Rae Earl

Giles Coren

Giles Coren has been a restaurant critic for The Times for the last ten years. Before that, he was restaurant critic of the Independent on Sunday. Before that, he was restaurant critic for Tatler. Before that, he was a journalist. In 2005, he was named Food and Drink Writer of the Year, published his first (and last) novel, Winkler and began presenting The F-Word on Channel 4 with Gordon Ramsay. Since then, he has presented a documentary series on biotechnology in the food chain (Animal Farm), a polemical film about the obesity crisis (Tax the Fat), and three series of The Supersizers Go...with Sue Perkins, who does the funny stuff whilst Coren eats his way through 2,000 years of food history with the table manners of a pig recently released from prison. His most recent television series, Our Food, aired on BBC2 in April 2012. He lives in Kentish Town with his wife, the writer Esther Walker, and his daughter, the toddler Kitty Coren, who recently developed a taste for good dim sum and will thus be allowed to stay.

Horatio Clare

Horatio Clare has worked on Front Row and Nightwaves, and produced Radio 3`s The Verb. Born in 1973, Clare has written for The Spectator, the New Statesman, the Guardian, and the Daily Telegraph.

Jai Pausch

Jai Pausch became an impassioned advocate promoting pancreatic cancer research following the 2008 death of her husband, Randy Pausch, Ph.D, acclaimed Carnegie Mellon University professor and author of the international best seller, The Last Lecture. During Randy's twenty-three-month battle with cancer, Jai took on the responsibility as his cancer caregiver, learning specialised medical, palliative, and hospice care. Previously, Jai Pausch led the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science Web team as the Director of Electronic Publications. Today, Pausch researches do-it-yourself instructional videos for home repairs and remodelling. She lives with her children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe, in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

John Gielgud

Sir John Gielgud spent a lifetime on the stage and in front of the camera; his first film was in 1924 when he starred as Daniel in Who Is The Man? Venerated for giving gravitas to a variety of Shakespearean roles, Gielgud made the role of respected old sage his own, and is considered by many to have been one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century. He died in May 2000.

Julian Rubinstein

Julian Rubinstein has written for the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Details, Sports Illustrated, Salon, and other publications. His work has been selected for the Best American Crime Writing anthology and has been cited twice by the Best American Sports Writing. Raised in Denver, he now lives in New York. The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber is his first book.

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson served as the seventh, and first woman, President of Ireland from 1990-1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. Robinson has been Honorary President of Oxfam International since 2002, and has chaired numerous bodies including the GAVI Alliance, vaccinating children worldwide, the Council of Women World Leaders (of which she was a co-founder), the International Institute for Environment and Development, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business. A former President of the International Commission of Jurists, Robinson serves on the board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which supports good governance in Africa, and is a member of the Elders, an independent group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela. A member of the Royal Irish Academy and the American Philosophical Society, she is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Indira Ghandi and Sydney Peace Prizes, and has been Chancellor of Dublin University since 1998. She is married to Nick Robinson with three children and four grandchildren. Now President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, she lives in Dublin and Mayo.Tessa Robinson is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the King's Inns. She practised as a barrister for ten years before becoming a freelance writer and copy editor. She is Mary's daughter and lives in Dublin with her husband and two children.

Meg Hutchinson

Meg Hutchinson lived for sixty years in Wednesbury, where her parents and grandparents spent all their lives. Her passion for storytelling reaped dividends, with her novels regularly appearing in bestseller lists. She was the undisputed queen of the clogs and shawls saga. Passionate about history, her meticulous research provided an authentic context to the action-packed narratives set in the Black Country. She died in February 2010.

Michael Volpe

Michael Volpe, the youngest of four brothers, is from an Italian immigrant family and has three children; Leanora, Gianluca and Fiora. He is married to Sally Connew-Volpe and they live in London. Michael joined the Royal Borough Of Kensington and Chelsea in October 1989 after a period of working in the international hotel industry and founded Opera Holland Park in 1996. Michael is a Chelsea supporter, and fervent advocate of cultural engagement for all - neither of which are necessarily related.

Nuala Gardner

Nuala Gardner is a nurse and midwife. She and her husband Jamie have two children, Dale and Amy, both of whom have autism. Dale is 18 and planning a career working with children with autism.

Richie Benaud

Richie Benaud captained Australia and was one of the most successful ever Australian cricketers. Since retiring from playing, he established a reputation as the doyenne of cricket commentary, and his global popularity grew with broadcasts on the BBC, Sky and many other networks.

Sam Delaney

Sam Delaney is an award-winning writer and broadcaster whose columns and features appear regularly in the Guardian and the Sunday Telegraph. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio Five Live and has written and presented TV documentaries for the BBC, Channel Four and Channel Five.

Shy Keenan

Shy Keenan founded Phoenix Survivors to campaign for justice for victims of sexual abuse and to rescue children at risk. Her work has been recognised by the British government as a crucial part of the battle to protect children. She lives with her family in the countryside.

Simon Pearson

Simon Pearson has worked on The Times since 1986. His interest in military history was stimulated by his father who served with the RAF in World War Two. He is the author of the bestselling The Great Escaper, published in 2013 and described by the Sunday Times as 'enthralling, an astounding story of honour and resilience'.

Simon Stephenson

Simon Stephenson is a writer and doctor who lives in London. Previous writing honours include being a runner-up in the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Competition, and being selected for BBC Scotland's 'Tartan Shorts' scheme. For several years he earned his living as a television screenwriter. Let Not the Waves of the Sea won the Saltire Prize.