• Born: 7 February 1812
  • Birthplace: Portsmouth, England
  • Died: 9 June 1870
  • Best Known As: The author of A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and other hit novels of 19th-century England. Dickens grew up in poverty, and it shows in his writing: he is known for his orphans and urchins, rogues, shopkeepers, stuffed shirts, widows, and other colorful characters pulled from the sooty streets of London. An all-around workhorse, Dickens edited a monthly magazine, wrote novels, gave public readings and came out with a Christmas story every year. His novels were often published first in serial form -- as chapter-by-chapter monthly installments in magazines of the day. Among his major works are Oliver Twist (completed 1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1841), David Copperfield (1850), the historical drama A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1861). His 1843 tale A Christmas Carol featured the grouchy miser Ebenezer Scrooge and the sickly tot Tiny Tim. It remains a popular holiday classic and perhaps his most famous tale.

Dickens used the pen name Boz early in his career, and his first publication was the short story collection Sketches By Boz (1836)... Oliver Twist was the basis for the stage musical Oliver!; the show won the Tony Award for best musical in 1963, and a 1968 movie version (with Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger) won the Academy Award for best picture... Dickens married the former Catherine Hogarth in 1836. They had 10 children, but their marriage was often tense, and they separated in 1858... He was buried in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey, near Geoffrey Chaucer and other fellow writers.