Roald (pronounced "Roo-aal") was born in Llandaff, South Wales. He had a relatively uneventful childhood and was educated at Repton School. During World War II he served as a fighter pilot and for a time was stationed in Washington, D.C.. Prompted by an interviewer, he turned an account of one of his war experiences into a short story that was accepted by the Saturday Evening Post, which were eventually collected in Over to You (1946). Dahl's stories are often described as horror tales or fantasies, but neither description does them justice. He has the ability to treat the horrible and ghastly with a light touch, sometimes even with a humorous one. His tales never become merely shocking or gruesome. His purpose is not to shock but to entertain, and much of the entertainment comes from the unusual twists in his plots, rather than from grizzly details. Dahl has also become famous as a writer of children's stories. In some circles, these works have cased great controversy. Critics have charged that Dahl's work is anti-Semitic and degrades women. Nevertheless, his work continues to be read: Charlie and Chocolate Factory (1964) was made into a successful movie, and his books of rhymes for children continue to be very popular.
Ivan Brunetti was born in Italy in 1967 and lives in Chicago, IL, where he teaches at Columbia College Chicago.
Lev Grossman was born on June 26, 1969. He received a degree in literature from Harvard University in 1991. He spent three years in the Ph.D. program in comparative literature at Yale University, but left before completing his dissertation. In 2002, he became a book reviewer and one of the lead technology writers for Time magazine. He has written for Salon, The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Entertainment Weekly, The Believer, Lingua Franca, and the New York Times. His first novel, Warp, was published in 1997. His other novels include Codex, The Magicians, which won a 2010 Alex Award, The Magician King and The Magician's Land.