Lucinda Dickens Hawksley will be giving a talk about her book, Charles Dickens, at The Hay Literary Festival today – a Dickens Bicentenary Year special! But if you can’t make it down to Hay in sunny Wales in time, here are some of Lucinda’s thoughts on the busy year she has had so far:
The Dickens bicentenary year has been incredible so far, I and other family members have been amazed at how much interest there is in Charles Dickens and at the vast number of events being carried out all over the world to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth. I wrote this book because people kept asking me to write a biography of Dickens for adults, that wasn’t an 800-page tome but wasn’t “dumbed down” either. I loved doing it. Dickens is such a fascinating person to research, because he really was an extraordinarily interesting man – as well as such a unique writer.
There were so many enticing artefacts in the Charles Dickens Museum (and elsewhere) that trying to decide, with my editor, Gemma, which items should appear in the book as removable documents was a voyage of discovery. One of my favourite items is a reproduction of a poster that advertises the “Boxing Day Sports”, a family day out which Dickens held in the field near his home in Kent. Entry was open to anyone who registered on time and Dickens, his family and his house guests all took an active part in the proceedings and supplied prizes for the winners. It gave me a glimpse into what Dickens was like “off duty” and how much he loved being sociable.