Roald Dahl’s Matilda is 30

She’s the magical little girl with a fierce intellect, an unshakable sense of justice and a heart a mile wide.

Matilda Wormwood was one of my absolute favourite characters growing up and I was not alone in this adoration.

While I had a caring, loving family and kind teachers, I could still identify with this long-haired, petite, voracious reader who was never happier than picking her next library book.

And then there was the dark world Roald Dahl created – her neglectful mum and dodgy car salesman dad, pure of heart teacher Miss Honey and the obnoxious and sadistic Miss Trunchbull.

The way this sadistic headteacher put pupils in the chokey, made Bruce Bogtrotter eat that chocolate cake and destroyed her niece’s childhood was shockingly outrageous – and needed revenge.

Oh, and how Matilda served it up, using her powers of telekinesis to serve a cold slice to the tyrannical Trunchbull.

Today Matilda turns 30 years old and she’s as loved as ever, with a Danny DeVito-directed film version and a wonderful West End musical penned by Tim Minchin that I feel sure Dahl would approve of.

I still have my original copy from 1989 (the year after the book was first published) and recently received a new anniversary edition.

On the cover, original illustrator Quentin Blake has reimagined Matilda as a grown woman, now chief executive of the British Library.

There are two more versions: one where she is an astrophysicist and another where she is an intrepid explorer.

Puffin Books are asking people to celebrate the anniversary by sharing their thoughts on where Matilda would be now.

My feeling is she would be somewhere helping children less fortunate learn to read – thus opening up a future of possibilities, whatever their home life.

Most of all, I think she would be happy.

Matilda: 30th Anniversary Edition by Roald Dahl. £12.99 (hardback), Puffin

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