Unrest at the Chocolate Factory

1964: Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is released, its Oompa Loompa characters depicted as a 3,000 strong tribe of black pygmies (Pic), imported by Willy Wonka from the African jungle. Fast forward to October 1972: Dahl, after discovering the intentions of fellow author Eleanor Cameron to write a scathing article about the story, writes the following letter to the editor of The Horn Book - the publication which would go on to feature the article - in an attempt to defend himself immediately. The public debate caused by the article and Dahl's response would ultimately lead to the Oompa Loompas being rewritten and redrawn for later editions.

The entire Horn Book saga can be followed here.


6th October, 1972

Paul Heins Esq.,
The Horn Book,
585 Boylston Street,

Dear Mr. Heins,

Kaye Webb has told me that Eleanor Cameron dislikes “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” intensely. She added that you weren't crazy about it either. Both of you are entitled to think what you like about it. Kaye also tells me that Eleanor Cameron is proposing to write something about this in one of your issues. She is entitled to do that too. But would you consider permitting me to see her piece and to reply to it in the same issue?

Yours sincerely,


Roald Dahl