Puffin in Roald Dahl u-turn: Publisher announces it WON’T edit author’s beloved books to remove ‘offensive content’ after outcry
Roald Dahl’s classic books will now not be edited in print after a huge outcry that saw the King’s wife Camilla wade in at a Clarence House reception yesterday.
Publisher Puffin has U-turned over ‘woke’ changes to many of his most famous children’s classics as critics including the Queen Consort demanded they do not put curbs on their ‘freedom of expression’.
It has announced the release of the Roald Dahl Classic Collection ‘to keep the author’s classic texts in print’, following criticism of recent editing of his work to remove potentially offensive language.
The row over revisionism has seen words such as ‘fat’ removed – August Gloop can now be referred to only as ‘enormous’ – and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’s Oompa Loompas being made gender neutral.
Mrs Twit’s ‘fearful ugliness’ has been cut to ‘ugliness’ and Mrs Hoppy in Esio Trot is not an ‘attractive middle-aged lady’ but a ‘kind middle-aged lady’.
The latest editions of Mr Dahl’s children’s books have been edited to remove language which could be deemed offensive
Queen Consort Camilla waded into the ongoing literary debate over Roald Dahl’s publisher rewriting passages of his children’s books, as she welcomed guests to her literary reception yesterday
But Puffin said in a statement this afternoon: ‘At Puffin we have proudly published Roald Dahl’s stories for more than forty years in partnership with the Roald Dahl Story Company.
‘Their mischievous spirit and his unique storytelling genius have delighted the imaginations of readers across many generations. We’ve listened to the debate over the past week which has reaffirmed the extraordinary power of Roald Dahl’s books and the very real questions around how stories from another era can be kept relevant for each new generation.
‘As a children’s publisher, our role is to share the magic of stories with children with the greatest thought and care. Roald Dahl’s fantastic books are often the first stories young children will read independently, and taking care for the imaginations and fast-developing minds of young readers is both a privilege and a responsibility.
‘We also recognise the importance of keeping Dahl’s classic texts in print. By making both Puffin and Penguin versions available, we are offering readers the choice to decide how they experience Roald Dahl’s magical, marvellous stories.’
Yesterday Camilla spoke out at a reception with many of Britain’s top writers amid anger that publishers have hired ‘sensitivity gurus’ to remove ‘offensive’ language in Dahl’s books.
She told the authors: ‘Please remain true to your calling, unimpeded by those who may wish to curb the freedom of your expression or impose limits on your imagination.’ The 73-year-old royal looked up with a mischievous smile and added: ‘Enough said.’
Her comments were greeted by laughter and cheers of ‘hear, hear!’ from the best-selling authors, including Sebastian Faulks, William Boyd, Ben Okri, Philippa Gregory and Charlie Mackesy.
The Queen Consort told them: ‘Let there be no squeaking like mice about your achievements, but only roaring like a pride of lions.’
She was speaking at a reception at Clarence House yesterday.