• Roald Dahl’s corrections

    20 February 2023

    Sorry I didn't post any fan art or family photos at the weekend, as I normally do -- I was away on a stag party (bachelor party) and forgot to schedule posts before I left. Oops!!

    Now that I'm back into my regular routine, I was pleased to see so much condemnation for the changes that are being made to Roald Dahl books by publishers so lily-livered that they're keen to avoid any kind of upset by making changes to certain aspects of older books that nobody is even complaining about! https://news.sky.com/story/roald-dahl-book-rewrites-branded-absurd-censorship-by-salman-rushdie-12815658

    I've always read a mix of recentish and older novels, both as a child and an adult, and I've never had a problem making allowances for books that were written in different social times to those that we in many countries currently live in. I've grown up fully believing in equal rights for all, and I've always tried to express that in my books, but I understand that writers from different ages had different views of the world, and I read their works accordingly.

    Now, while young children might not be able to do that as capably as an adult can, a parent or teacher or librarian or family elder can easily explain to them that a writer like Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl was born long ago and had been brought up to see the world differently to us. It can be a good way to explain why it's not nice or acceptable to call people certain terms or make fun of them in ways that were OK 50 or 100 years ago. It can also be a good way of illustrating that even the best of people can have their flaws, and that as we journey through life, we should never think of ourselves as perfect -- perhaps, in 50 years, some of our opinions and ways of talking about other people will also be viewed disfavorably.

    As a writer, I'm horrified at the thought of publishers fiddling with my books when I'm dead. That's not their job, and it's not something they're equipped to do either. I have huge respect for editors and everyone else who works in the publishing world -- they do amazing work which I certainly can't do -- but, y'know, if they were ABLE to write, they'd be WRITERS. I wouldn't presume to "correct" a publisher's work from 50 years ago, and I don't think they should be "correcting" mine or Roald Dahl's or any other authors. If they're so concerned about being politically correct (and I don't think it's a BAD thing to want to produce work that isn't offensive to today's readers), perhaps they could consider putting more money into publicising the work of more current, diversity-conscious writers, rather than simply chasing the easy bucks by constantly reprinting and aggressively pushing the work of successful authors that they clearly have isues with. Seems to me like they're trying to both have their literary cake and eat it...

     

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