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Campaign to save Roald Dahl's 'little nest' writing hut

Push to preserve the shed where author Roald Dahl wrote his most famous works has sparked a backlash from people who think royalties should cover the costs.

The garden shed in which Roald Dahl wrote his hugely popular children's books.
The garden shed in which Roald Dahl wrote his hugely popular children's books.
Image: Adma Butler/PA Archive

THE FAMILY of late author Roald Dahl has launched a campaign to preserve the 50-year-old hut in which he wrote some of the best-known modern children’s books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG.

Dahl wrote dozens of children’s books as well as adult fiction, screenplays and poetry. Today, Roald Dahl Day, would have been the author’s 95th birthday and this year is the 50th anniversary of his famous James and the Giant Peach novel. Dahl followed a strict daily writing routine, working in the shed he termed his “little nest”.

The illustrator Quentin Blake told the Guardian in 2008 that for Dahl, the shed was his sanctuary. Despite their years of collaboration, Blake rarely ventured inside.

Dahl’s granddaughter, model and author Sophie Dahl, is spearheading the campaign to raise £500,000 (€579,000) to preserve the brick and polystyrene shed which has not been altered since Dahl’s death in 1990.

She says the full preservation project will require major work on the structure, which she describes as an “icon”.

Roald Dahl’s chair, notepads and writing materials are still in the hut. Under the preservation plan, the hut would be moved into the nearby Roald Dahl Museum in the village of Great Missenden, where Dahl lived and wrote for nearly  four decades.

Amelia Foster, director of the Roald Dahl Museum, says that the family has made a ‘significant’ contribution towards the costs of the project. Foster says that the museum hopes philanthropists will be interested in playing a part in protecting part of Britain’s heritage. The museum says that the hut was not built to last and is now in “a very fragile state”.

Over £250,000 has already been raised for the project.

The Dahl campaign hasn’t gone down well with everyone, with a lot of suggestions on Twitter today that the royalties of Roald Dahl’s book sales and his family’s contribution should fully cover the preservation costs:

Campaign to save Roald Dahl's 'little nest' writing hut
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- Additional reporting by the AP

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