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Dickens 2012 is an international celebration of the life and work of Charles Dickens to mark the bicentenary of his birth, which falls on 7 February 2012.

Institutions and organisations from all over the world are partners of Dickens 2012 and work together to deliver a programme of events and activities to commemorate this very special anniversary.

Although a writer from the Victorian era, Dickens’s work transcends his time, language and culture. He remains a massive contemporary influence throughout the world and his writings continue to inspire film, TV, art, literature, artists and academia.

Dickens 2012 sees a rich and diverse programme of events taking place in the run up and throughout the whole of 2012.

Film, TV & Radio

From multi Oscar®-winning Oliver! to BBC’s hit series Bleak House, the world of film and TV have endeavoured to translate Dickens’s immortal stories to the screen. Dickens’s highly visual narrative style inspired early film-makers and many have credited the author with providing the very DNA that cinematic language is based upon. The oldest surviving film version of a work by Dickens – an adaptation of A Christmas Carol – is from 1901 and over a hundred years later Dickens’s works are still being filmed for cinema and TV and every one of his 15 novels has been filmed at least twice.

Literature & Education

Dickens believed that enriching people’s life with knowledge and enjoyment of the arts was key to building a fair society and creating opportunities. Dickens 2012 is committed to following Dickens’s educational mission by supporting learning activities around the world, from teachers’ conferences and family workshops to creative writing master classes and writing competitions.


From May 2011 onwards Dickens’s life, works and legacy will be explored in a series of exhibitions across the globe. Major loans between Dickens collections and other museum sites will provide visitors with exciting opportunities to see and experience what inspired Dickens to become one of the world’s greatest writers and to find out more about the times he lived in.

London and UK will host a number of special commemorative exhibitions while venues in France, Switzerland and US will also show the rich heritage of Dickens’s life.

Theatre & Performing Arts

Dickens was a champion of the acting profession – he himself wanted to become an actor at the age of 18 and applied to the Covent Garden theatre. Since the publication of his first major book The Pickwick Papers, Dickens’s works have been adapted for the stage on countless occasions, and few novelists have provided more material for the theatre.

In 2012, audiences around the world will be able to see traditional and new adaptations of Dickens’s works, including the first adaptation ever of Dickens’s ‘The Life of our Lord’.

Festivals & Outdoor

The life and work of Dickens is regularly celebrated in festivals and outdoor activities around the world. In 2012, Dickens-themed activities are expected to bring together millions of people worldwide with new events and special editions of key annual festivals being staged to mark the bicentenary.

In addition, the year of the bicentenary will see new long-lasting commemorative initiatives including exciting legacy projects and heritage trails.

Find out what Dickens 2012 events are taking place near you by visiting