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Dickens Day

Dickens Day was established in 1986 by the eminent Birkbeck Dickensian Professor Michael Slater to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Dickens' first novel, The Pickwick Papers, in 1836. Birkbeck contained no less than four renowned Dickensian scholars at that time - Barbara Hardy, Steve Connor, Andrew Sanders and Michael Slater - all of whom still contribute to the Day. The Day was organised for a number of years by the late Professor Sally Ledger.

The enduring format of the Day - scholars and enthusiasts speaking to a general and academic audience, along with readings - was established from the outset and, following the first Day’s success, an Oliver Twist day followed in 1987.

All of Dickens’s novels have been the subject of a Dickens Day and, when 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' was reached in 2008, a decision was made by the organisers and regular participants to switch to a thematic day. Since then, topics considered include Dickens and Science, Dickens and Popular Culture, Dickens and History, and Dickens and Conviviality.

Dickens Day continues to feature top-quality work from some of the world’s leading Dickensian scholars, while also offering a platform and a forum for new and independent scholars and enthusiasts.

Past events


  • Dickens and Bodies


  • Dickens, Families and Communities


  • Dickens and Fantasy


  • Heritage, Celebrations and Anniversaries


  • Dickens, Readers and Reading


  • Dickens and Conviviality


  • Dickens and History


  • Dickens and Popular Culture


  • Republics of the Imagination: Dickens and Travel