Celebrate 200 years of Dickens in 2012
ickens 2012 is a celebration of the life and works of one of England’s greatest authors. A prolific writer, Charles Dickens gave the world A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities, to name just a few of his books. The year-long bicentenary celebrations will show the complexity of the ties between Dickens, his novels, and England.
Dickens considered himself "a very small and not over-particularly-taken-care-of boy". This small boy grew into one of the world’s best-known authors and rubbed shoulders with the rush and bustle of many of England’s busiest cities. What he saw had a profound influence on the books we love him for today.
A deep and lasting impact was wrought upon Dickens by the sailors’ calls and swaying ships of Portsmouth, his birthplace, and by the characters he met there. As part of the Charles Dickens bicentenary celebrations, Portsmouth hosts a number of events, including a production of David Copperfield at The Kings Theatre.
As a small boy, Dickens got lost among the carriages and crowds near St Giles Church in London. At first terrified, he soon resolved to take the opportunity to seek his fortune, just like his characters Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. London hosts a range of Dickens-related events for the bicentenary, including “A Hankering After Ghosts”, an exhibition at the British Library, which looks at Dickens relationship with the supernatural.
Moving towards Teesdale we enter the industrial north of England, immortalised in Hard Times. While Coke Town was predominantly based on Manchester, Dickens intended it to be a fairly generic northern mill-town of the time. While he was researching Nicholas Nickleby, Dickens stayed in Teesdale’s Barnard Castle, just across the county border from Yorkshire, where parts of the book take place. Barnard Castle will come alive with guided tours, exhibitions, films and a dance to celebrate Dickens birthday on 7 February.