Today celebrates the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens. He was born in Portsmouth in 1812, and died in Kent in 1870.
The Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall will attend a service at Westminster Abbey, and will lay a wreath at the author's grave in poet's corner. Members of Dickens' family will attend the service,along with representatives from film, literature and the media. A reading from Bleak House,will be given by the actor, Ralph Fiennes.
There are also special celebrations in Dickens' home town of Portsmouth, where the actor Simon Callow will read from David Copperfield.,and the actress Sheila Hancock will read from Oliver Twist.
All around the world people are remembering Dickens....and yet, there is constant debate that Dickens is no longer relevant in modern society, and that children today do not have the attention span necessary to be able to read, and enjoy the author's work.
Dickens' wrote his books when most of the population had limited reading skills, and yet he aimed his writing at the ordinary man and woman, and championed the need for better education. We are failing our young people if we do not encourage them to read, and take enjoyment in some of the finest work in English literature.
"That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."
- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations