Cedric Dickens, a great-grandson of Charles, would have turned 100 on September 24, and he's getting a party! Cedric's daughter Jane Monk has completed the memoir her father left unfinished when he died in 2006. The book, My Life, will have its official U.S. launch October 22 (11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) at the Union League in Philadelphia, sponsored by Frank Giordano of the Philadelphia Pickwick Club. RSVP to Rick Bravo at ribravo55 AT verizon DOT net (you know the drill) if you'd like to go! (H/T The Buzfuz.)
Great-great-great-grandson Ian Dickens recently became a volunteer with Beanstalk, a child literacy charity. In this interview, he talks about how his ancestor's legacy -- not just as a writer, but also as a performer -- helps him teach children to read.
". . . And when the twigsome trees by the wayside (which, I suppose, never will grow leafy, for they never did) guarded here and there a dusty soldier . . ."
I'm reading The Uncommercial Traveller in the new Oxford University Press edition, and was delighted to come upon this passage on page 62. I get sick of bare branches in the winter, but now I won't mind them so much, because I have a wonderful new word to describe them. I don't know for sure that Dickens coined "twigsome," but I don't remember ever seeing it anywhere else (and my spelling & grammar function doesn't recognize it, not that that means much), so I'm going to guess that he did.
(I also got a good laugh out of this on the same page: "The revolving French light on Cape Grinez was seen regularly bursting out and becoming obscured, as if the head of a gigantic light-keeper in an anxious state of mind were interposed every half-minute, to look how it was burning.")
A couple of stage productions overseas have been getting some attention. Mike Poulton's adaptation, directed by James Dacre, is running in Northampton right now before embarking on a national tour; What's On Stage gives it a good review here. (By the way, those who enjoy reading plays as much as I do can buy a copy of that adaptation here!) Meanwhile, a very different version called A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood, by Jonathan Holloway, ran at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last month. Though I don't like the sound of some of the changes they made to the story, it does sound like it would have been interesting, at least!