LONDON: Queen Elizabeth is throwing a star-studded party for him at Buckingham Palace and in Buenos Aires, leading cultural figures will gather in an old orphanage to read from his works.Charles Dickens may have died in 1870, but legions of fans around the world unite Tuesday and beyond to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of a titan of English fiction.
Commercially, his books eclipse Harry Potter or any other modern-day publishing phenomenon – some estimates say “A Tale of Two Cities” is the best-selling novel of all time at more than 200 million copies.
On Tuesday, the bicentenary of his birth, Britain’s heir to the throne, Prince Charles, will visit the Charles Dickens Museum in London where the author lived between 1837 and 1839 and wrote “Oliver Twist” and “Nicholas Nickleby.”
The prince will go on to Westminster Abbey to attend a ceremony and lay a wreath on Dickens’ grave, in an event that marks the largest gathering of the novelist’s descendants, with over 200 family members attending including his great-great grandson Mark Dickens.
Queen Elizabeth attends a performance of extracts from Dickens’ works Feb. 14 before hosting a reception at her London residence.
On Feb. 7, the British Council will stage a global “read-a-thon” with 24 readings from 24 Dickens texts in 24 hours, starting in Australia and taking in countries including Iraq and China.
Other events coinciding with the anniversary include exhibitions, performances and online tributes.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 06, 2012, on page 16.