Rishi Sunak Condemns Decision To Rewrite Roald Dahl Books For Modern Readers
Rishi Sunak has condemned the decision to re-write Roald Dahl’s books to appeal to modern-day readers.
The prime minister’s spokesman quoted much-loved Dahl character the BFG by insisting people should not “gobblefunk around with words”.
The intervention followed reports the latest editions Dahl’s children’s books have been edited to remove language which could be deemed offensive.
Sunak’s spokesperson said on Monday: “It’s important that works of literature and fiction are preserved and not airbrushed.
“When it comes to our rich and varied literary heritage, the prime minister agrees with the BFG, you shouldn’t gobblefunk around with words.”
Gobblefunk is the language Dahl created, used in his books including The BFG.
According to the Daily Telegraph teferences within the classic children’s books relating to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race have been cut and rewritten.
Edits reportedly include removing the word “fat” from every book, Augustus Gloop in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is now described as “enormous” and The Cloud-Men in James And The Giant Peach have become Cloud-People.
The Roald Dahl Story Company confirmed it began a review into the books alongside publishers Puffin in 2020, and that any changes made were “small and carefully considered”.
A spokesperson for the Roald Dahl Story Company said: “We want to ensure that Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories and characters continue to be enjoyed by all children today.
“When publishing new print runs of books written years ago, it’s not unusual to review the language used alongside updating other details including a book’s cover and page layout.
“Our guiding principle throughout has been to maintain the storylines, characters, and the irreverence and sharp-edged spirit of the original text. Any changes made have been small and carefully considered.”
The company added that it had worked alongside Inclusive Minds, a collective for people working towards inclusion and accessibility in children’s literature.
Philip Pullman, the author of his Dark Materials, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, Dahl’s books should be let to “go out of print” rather than edited.