Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens

Cityread chose Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, as the book for its inaugural year, to coincide with Dickens 200th Birthday. We worked in partnership with Dickens 2012. Other 2012 partners included Radisson Edwardian, Foyles, Universities and World Book Night.

Dark, mysterious and mordantly funny, Oliver Twist features some of the most memorably drawn villains in all of fiction – the treacherous gangmaster Fagin, the menacing thug Bill Sikes, the Artful Dodger and their den of thieves in the grimy London backstreets. Dickens’ novel is both an angry indictment of poverty, and an adventure filled with an air of threat and pervasive evil.

Cityread 2012 Highlights

We worked to bring the book to life with over 300 free events for adults and children. These events and activities happened in all 33 London Boroughs. The Launch event St Pancras station was a phenomenal success, with stand-out pieces of broadcast and press from BBC London, Magic, and The Times. This was followed by hundreds of additional events led by London’s libraries; a Cinema programme at 10 cinemas in 9 boroughs; participation at World Book Night event; window display at Foyles; and the closing event at Barbican Library

The children, young people and families’ strand included; ‐ Hip Hop Dickens (Brent, Hackney, Hillingdon, Lambeth and Newham); Twisted London: Comic workshops, 8‐12 year olds, (Barnet, Ealing, Greenwich, Harrow, Hillingdon, Islington, Westminster, Croydon and Camden); Oliver twisted writing workshops, 9yrs + (Merton, Westminster); Dodgy Dickens Big Family Day, 7‐12 year olds and families (V&A Museum of Childhood); and in partnership with Spread the Word, Charles Dickens Museum & Cityread London – Young Writer in Residence

About Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in 1812 near Portsmouth where his father was a clerk in the navy pay office. The family moved to London in 1823, but their fortunes were severely impaired. Dickens was sent to work in a blacking-warehouse when his father was imprisoned for debt. Both experiences deeply affected the future novelist. In 1833 he began contributing stories to newspapers and magazines, and in 1836 started the serial publication of Pickwick Papers. Thereafter, Dickens published his major novels over the course of the next twenty years, from Nicholas Nickleby to Little Dorrit. He also edited the journals Household Words and All the Year Round. Dickens died in June 1870.

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