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If he were still alive Charles Dickens would be celebrating his 200th birthday on 7 February next year. The writer retained strong links to London, living there most of his life, and featuring many of the city's locations in his works. His life and writing will be commemorated further afield than England's capital city, but the London celebrations will include the following:
The Charles Dickens Museum was reopened on 8 November after extensive renovations. This was the writer's home between 1837 and 1839 and where he wrote Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby and The Pickwick Papers. As Dickens and Christmas now seem inseparable in our psyche, the museum will be organising events leading up to this year's festive period. These will include guided Christmas Carol walks, a performance of A Christmas Carol (incorporating puppetry and music) and a Christmassy redecoration of 48 Doughty Street as it would have been for the Dickens family. The museum will also be open between 24 and 26 December.
The Blue Plaque outside the Dickens Museum at 48 Doughty Street
The Museum of London will be launching an exhibition on 9 December and this will encompass paintings, photographs, manuscripts and an audiovisual experience recreating Dickens at work.
The British Library will be hosting an exhibition devoted to Dickens and his links with the supernatural, and examining how they were part of contemporary nineteenth century beliefs. This will open on 29 November and run until 4 March 2012.
The Watts Gallery will be holding an exhibition featuring Charles Dickens and art. This will take place in the summer of 2012.
The BFI Southbank will be staging a three month long retrospective of film and TV works based on the writer's works. This will commence in January 2012 and will then tour nationally and internationally.
Dickens Walks will take place every Sunday throughout 2012 and will visit locations used in film and television adaptations of the writer's novels.
Southwark Council has launched an appeal for funds to raise a memorial to Dickens. The novelist knew the area well and featured many of its locations in Little Dorrit, David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers. The memorial will be placed in the Little Dorrit Church.
Dickens in later life
If you don't live in, or can't get to, London next year, don't be too concerned. There will be events in other parts of England and the rest of the world. For further information consult the Dickens 2012 website
Have fun celebrating Charles Dickens's birthday, whatever you decide to do. To paraphrase Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol 'God Bless You, Every One!'