Wackford Squeers? Serjeant Buzfuz? Hiram Grewgious? Diggory Chuzzlewit?
Hah! Just to be clear, I am not on the lash and quite sober and my wireless keyboard did not temporarily go wonky. What then, of the above gibberish?
Why, they are all characters straight out of a Charles Dickens novel!
The Newspaper Press Fund (now called The Journalists’ Charity) was founded in 1864 by Charles Dickens (among others), to help journalists and their dependents going through hard times. Recently, the group launched a competition for anyone who will bring to life a rendering of a person living today who matches a character created by Mr. Dickens. According to their website:
“150 years after his death a search is launched to find the kind of characters the great Charles Dickens would have been describing in the uncertain times of today.
Founded by the great Charles Dickens, the Journalists’ Charity has launched a competition to discover the kind of people living today who might have captured the writer’s imagination and would be his great inspirational characters of the 21st Century.
In just 300 words – with Dickens’s descriptive flamboyance – can you pen a portrait of the 21st century character you think would have deserved his attention?”
Charles Dickens was a parliamentary reporter in 1830’s London, and at that time many debates were carried out about the reformation of the “poor laws, which created the “workhouse” system. Disgusted by parliament, which passed the new legislation establishing workhouses, Dickens began work on his novel, Oliver Twist.
It will be truly interesting to read about a 21st-century Silas Wegg, Ebenezer Scrooge or Uriah Heep. Good luck to everyone, and by all means get cracking and put that pen to paper. There is no better time than now to “Dickens Up” a contemporary figure!
Feature Image by Karen Arnold.