The busy granddaughter of Roald and former plus-size model talks about her debut novel ''Playing With the Grown-ups,'' the difference between herself and the book's main character, and the cookbook she's working on now
Sophie Dahl
Credit: Nick Harvey/

Sophie Dahl has a lot on her plate. Not only is the former plus-size model putting the finishing touches on a cookbook/memoir called Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights and working as a contributing editor for Men’s Vogue, but she’s also following in her grandfather Roald Dahl’s footsteps with her first novel, Playing With the Grown-ups (due in U.S. stores this month), the chronicle of an adolescent girl’s troubled relationship with her eccentric mother.

REALITY VS. FICTION Though Dahl, 30, denies that her novel is autobiographical, she says the press has had a difficult time differentiating her from Grown-ups‘ protagonist — a girl who, like Dahl, traveled through several cities with her depressed, drug-addled mother. ”It’s an interesting thing having done a book tour in England, just having to maintain again and again that it is fiction, certainly with threads of my own life buried in there,” she says. ”If I wanted to write a memoir, I could have written a memoir.”

FAMILY BIZ ”I’m as much of a fan as anyone else,” she says of her late grandfather, who wrote such classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. ”I would never be so bold as to think I could steal that mantel.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Dahl famously shrank her figure, once reportedly a U.K. size 16, to a considerably svelter shape early in the millennium, a development that received much criticism in the British press. She hopes to overturn the negatives with Voluptuous Delights, fusing her favorite recipes with personal stories about her life and food (it’s due in the U.S. next year). ”It’s an anecdotal book about how to be slim but eat.”