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PARIS: The French publishers of Roald Dahl on Tuesday (Feb 21) ruled out any changes to the late British author’s translated books after reports that English editions were being rewritten for modern audiences.

The Daily Telegraph said last week that publishers Puffin had made hundreds of changes to characters and language in Dahl’s stories for children including making the diminutive Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory gender-neutral and calling Augustus Gloop enormous rather than fat.

Twit in The Twits is also no longer ugly, but beastly instead, while the Cloud-Men in James and the Giant Peach are now Cloud-People.

“This rewrite only concerns Britain,” a spokeswoman for publishers Gallimard said.

“We have never changed Roald Dahl’s writings before, and we have no plans to do so today,” she told AFP.

Gallimard first published James et La Grosse Peche (James and the Giant Peach) in 1966, and Charlie et la Chocolaterie in 1967. Both have seen several new editions since.

Although less famous than in the English-speaking world, Dahl’s children’s books have a loyal following in France and are all available in Gallimard’s Folio collection of young people’s literature.

The British publisher’s rewrite decision caused a wave of criticism with writers Salman Rushdie and Philip Pullman, freedom of expression body PEN and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak all weighing in on the debate.

In France, translator and commentator Berengere Viennot told the website that “a rewritten Roald Dahl novel is no longer a Roald Dahl novel”.