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Cardiff ConnectNews

Our City of the Unexpected

18 October 2016


This September, Cardiff witnessed its biggest ever arts event: ‘Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected’, a remarkable celebration of the master storyteller’s life and work on the 100th anniversary of his birth in the Welsh capital. 


Born in the district of Llandaff in 1916, the globally beloved author spent his formative years in Wales; a period memorably documented in his autobiography ‘Boy’, in which he recounts startling sweetshop owner Mrs. Pratchett by placing a dead rat in a jar of gobstoppers.

To mark the centenary, Cardiff paid homage with the ‘City of the Unexpected’ held on 17 and 18 September. The Saturday saw a giant peach fall from above to tour Cardiff’s streets, Fantastic Mr. Foxes dart from store to store and impromptu musical performances turn the city’s Victorian arcades into corridors of Pure Imagination.

On Sunday, a Great Pyjama Picnic was held in the city’s Bute Park, with hundreds of children and adults alike turning out in their nightclothes to enjoy the late summer sunshine – and of course, the mass pillow fight which followed.

Why not learn more about Dahl’s Welsh roots from Professor Damian Walford Davies, Head of the School of English, Communication and Philosophy – or about the process of working with Dahl from his long term illustrator Sir Quentin Blake (Hon 2006) .

Cardiff’s School of Chemistry took part in the magical celebrations by recreating George’s Marvellous Medicine. You can watch a video of their experiment here

img_20160917_172932_resized_20161011_105853104 frogdahl img_20160918_135735_resized_20161011_105847894 City of the Unexpected, City Hall peach - Tom O'Neill