Charles Dickens was born on 7th February 1812 in Portsmouth, England. His early life was a mix of good and bad with an early spell of education followed by having to work in the dreadful conditions of Warren's blacking (boot polish) factory when his father was sent to prison as a debtor. Charles later returned to school but his experiences inspired his books including "Great Expectations".
Charles' career path began with journalism and following his marriage to Catherine Hogarth in 1836 he published "Pickwick Papers". He wrote novels, plays (and acted), he edited journals and wrote travel books and autobiography. He travelled extensively and campaigned on many issues including against slavery and he fathered ten children before leaving his wife. His mistress was the actress Ellen Ternan. Not surprsingly maybe, in 1870, he died of a stroke and was buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey in London.
Dickens is much loved the world over and must have been an amazing man, full of enthusiasm for life. I have to confess that I have never read any of his books (waits for thunderbolt...) I've seen films and television dramatisations of many novels but have not read any for myself. So, I'm starting with Great Expectations, today, the bicentenary of the author's birth.