Speed Reads

rewriting history

Roald Dahl's widow reveals the writer initially envisioned Charlie of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a black boy

Writer Roald Dahl initially had a very different vision for his classic kid's book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His widow, Felicity Dahl, revealed in an interview this week with BBC that when her husband first wrote about Charlie Bucket, the boy who won the golden ticket, he wrote about "a little black boy."

The British author's initial vision for the character was "influenced by America," his widow said. When the book was published in 1964, America was in the midst of the civil rights movement.

But Roald's agent reportedly advised him against it. "It was his agent who thought it was a bad idea when the book was first published to have a black hero," said Roald's biographer, Donald Sturrock. "She said people would ask why."

Felicity said it was "a great pity" her husband's original vision never came to be, and she indicated that she'd be open to a "reworking" of the story. "It would be wonderful, wouldn't it?" she said.