Donegal children’s writing group celebrates Roald Dahl

By Grainne McCool

Today marks the biggest ever celebration of Roald Dahl’s for what would have been his 100th birthday. The world’s number one storyteller has left a legacy our children still live with and indeed us adults too.

Here in Muff, Co. Donegal the celebrations have been taking place over recent weeks with The WRITE STUFF Kids Club. Based in Muff but hosting workshops all over Donegal, Derry, and even as far as Wexford; Dahl holds a very special place in our club.

Primarily this group focuses on Creative Writing but reading is never far from our core. Without reading there really would be no imagination and no magic, and so our writing ability stems from our reading.

I started this club myself back in July 2015 to encourage children to develop their writing skills and love of creativity.

The goal is to encourage children to use their imagination and express their thoughts, ideas, perceptions, feelings and more, in words, language, conversation and art. Creativity is always at the fore.

When we talk about books and reading, Roald Dahl always gets a mention. With The BFG currently donning the world cinema stage, it continually prompts discussion among the various groups of the club. A local drama group, Vivid Performances School of Speech and Drama, have recently toured Inishowen, Co. Donegal with their production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so we are no strangers to the magical workings of this great author and storyteller.

Throughout recent workshops, the children of Inishowen have been drawing their own interpretations of the BFG, designing their very own Golden Tickets and even writing micro stories using Gobblefunk language (that used by Dahl in many of his novels).

Ava McLaughlin's golden ticket
Ava McLaughlin’s golden ticket

Gobblefunk is Roald Dahl’s own language. The words are found across his literature and explain meaning when Dahl’s dreamworld transcends normal adjectives.

Leah Eichinger from the Muff group wrote: “BFG Buggles: Oompa-Loompa Phizz Whizzing: Roald Dahl time-twiddler.”

Colm Millar wrote: “Roald Dahl: Time-Twiddler: is Buggles.”

Fionnuala De Brun wrote: “Roald was not a Time-Twiddler Oompa-Loompa.”

Declan Roe wrote: “Roald Dahl is a google catching time-twiddler.”

Kayleigh Sweeney wrote: “Phizz-whizzing Dahl: Ringsbeller books; Buggles characters.”

Hugh Duffy's BFG
Hugh Duffy’s BFG

Of course you must access the Gobblefunk dictionary to understand these but they are an excellent tribute to the legend that is Roald Dahl.

Many of the younger children created wonderful images in their celebration of this children’s literary hero.

Dahl continues to inspire young imaginations and will continue to do so for many generations to come.

Here at The WRITE STUFF Kids Club we would like to wish an exceptionally Happy 100th Birthday to an exceptional man, Roald Dahl.

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it,” Roald Dahl.


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