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Special event to celebrate Dickens' 200th birthday

11th January 2012

The 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth on February 7th is to be celebrated with a special event at Westminster Abbey attended by authors, poets and actors from around the world.

A wreath-laying ceremony at Poets' Corner, where Dickens was buried in 1870, will see luminaries from the arts world gather to pay their respects, including Ralph Fiennes and acclaimed Dickens biographer Claire Tomalin.

The event will also mark the largest ever gathering of descendants of the author, with over 200 family members attending.

This will include the current head of the family and president of the Dickens Fellowship, Mark Dickens, reading from his great-great-grandfather's work.

Fiennes, who is currently directing a film adaptation of Tomalin's The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens, will also be among the readers.

He commented: 'It will be a great honour to read an excerpt from Dickens' work in Poets' Corner to commemorate one of the world's greatest writers and a man whose imagination has a lasting impact on the creative industries, including film, theatre and media.'

The event, which takes place on Dickens' actual birthday, is one of many being held across the world this year to celebrate the bicentenary of the author's birth, including the official Dickens 2012 Dinner at London's Mansion House, featuring readings by Sir Patrick Stewart.

The Charles Dickens Museum project 'Great Expectations' has also received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for London to redevelop Dickens' Grade I listed former home in the capital to celebrate the occasion.

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