2012 celebrates two hundred years since the birth of one of the most influential English writers, Charles Dickens. In this book Simon Callow looks at the life of Charles Dickens not only as a popular writer but also through his involvement with the theatre. Dickens loved acting and the theatre and at one stage envisaged becoming a professional actor. Producing and acting in dramatic productions for family and close friends and also as a fund raiser for special causes became an important part of his life. In his later life he spent much of his time entertaining audiences with dramatic readings from his books. Dickens' love of the theatre can also be seen in the dramatic character of his novels, many of which were adapted for the theatre. Callow provides us with a greater understanding as to what drove Dickens to undertake the challenges of writing so many books along with contributions to magazines and newspapers along with live performances for his legion of fans. His works were not only entertaining but provided social commentaries on aspects of life in Victorian England. At the time his written work received mixed critical acclaim but his audiences largely loved it providing him with celebrity status in the UK and America. Today his works are still widely read, critically studied and transferred to film.