Matilda was published in 1988.
I just found this out yesterday, reading a boring article I don’t endorse.
I find this shocking. Matilda was such a standard of my childhood, but it didn’t come out until I was 5. It’s kind of amazing to think of my parents reading the New York Times Book Review children’s books issue, and being like, “oh, a new one from Roald Dahl,” and then going to a bookstore and buying it. I knew my parents didn’t grow up reading Dahl the way I did, but I had always lumped him with the classics. I thought his popularity had long been decided on, and was not a choice made by consumers. I actually own a hardcover of Matilda, which I had assumed was just some special edition, but was probably purchased soon after its American release.
As an aside: Roald Dahl: kind of the best. If you don’t have young children in your life, check out his adult short fiction, much of which was published in Playboy. His adult stories are macabre and fun, just like how you would imagine Matilda to grow up to be.