Ophelia Dahl: Extended Interview

Partners in Health executive director, Wellesley grad, daughter of Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal, 46, Cambridge.

Is it true that you’re writing a memoir about your father?
I was working on a memoir, and I’ve finished it. I had a contract with Random House and everything else. It’s complicated to write about your dad, but I loved it. I had a very close relationship with my dad, and I have good memories of him, but then it’s hard to write a memoir and be part of an organization as consuming as [Partners in Health]. I finished it, I put it away, and I sent back the contract — I don’t want to [publish] it.

Why on earth not?
I feel like I did it; I just didn’t share it with the public. Someone is writing an authorized biography. I think it’s going to come out later this year. I know the author quite well and he read my memoir, and so I feel as though pieces of the biography have been at least a little bit informed. He’s done a great deal of research and has gone over subjects I didn’t even touch.

How long did you work on yours?
Years, years. I feel like I learned a lot from it, and I don’t feel it’s wasted time at all.

What was it called?
The Storyteller’s Apprentice.

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