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More please: London celebrates Dickens with series of Oliver Twist-themed events

  • Date: 5 April 2012
  • Area: London
man in Victorian dress riding penny farthing with legs flung out

Getting into the Dickensian spirit at the launch of Cityread London at St Pancras station. Credit: Julien Creff

Hundreds of events will take place in London throughout April as part of a month-long celebration of Oliver Twist.

The project, called Cityread London, was developed by Stellar Libraries, is run by London libraries, and was made possible with an £86,000 Grants for the arts award from Arts Council England.

Libraries, museums, cinemas, and other venues in all 33 London boroughs will host discounted and free events to bring the popular Dickens story to life and engage young people with literature and the history of their city.

Cityread is the only project linking London's libraries to the Dickens 2012 bicentenary celebrations and is expected to become an annual event.

The project launched this week with a giveaway of 1,000 special edition copies of Oliver Twist produced by Penguin. A further 4,000 special edition copies will be made available in the city's libraries throughout the month.

Readers can participate by simply reading the book, by joining the debate online, or taking part in a workshop or watching a performance.

From 7 to 8 April, readers are encouraged to participate with the campaign through social media and online reading groups. Cityread aims to create the world's biggest book group through their month long Facebook discussion.

Libraries will be hosting arts, crafts, reading and writing events for children during the Easter holidays and The Hip Hop Shakespeare Company has been commissioned to develop a series of hip hop Dickens workshops for libraries.

On Thursday 19 April, actor Laurence Foster will play host as Dickens at Dinner With Dickens, a pop-up Victorian dinner party at The Clerkenwell Kitchen. The meal will be accompanied by readings from Oliver Twist.

On 21 and 22 April all libraries will be putting on local history and archive events exploring Victorian London and family history. And an afternoon of Dickens readings will take place in the late Queen Victoria's bedroom at Kensington Palace on Saturday 28 April.

Read about all the Oliver Twist events taking place this month on the Cityread London website.

Find out more about how we support libraries across the country on the libraries pages of our website.