Last year, descendents of England’s greatest novelist Charles Dickens descended on London as part of the yearlong international celebration of the famed author’s 200th birthday.

This year, two prominent members of the Dickens family will come to Santa Cruz for another event honoring Mr. Dickens.  

Gerald Dickens, the great-great-grandson, and Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Dickens, will speak and perform as part of the annual Dickens Universe program, running August 4-10 on the UC Santa Cruz campus.

Sponsored by the Dickens Project, an international research group headquartered at UCSC, the Dickens Universe brings together scholars, teachers, and members of the general public for a week of talks, classes, and festive events centered around the works of Dickens.

“This year, the program will focus on two novels, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, left unfinished when Dickens died suddenly in 1870, and The Moonstone by Dickens's friend Wilkie Collins, often considered the first detective novel in English,” noted UCSC literature professor and Dickens Project director, John Jordan.

Jordan said that on Tuesday evening, August 6, Gerald Dickens will present a dramatic reading from Dickens' works, “including selections from some of his best-loved novels and featuring the little-known story "Doctor Marigold's Prescriptions."

“Mr. Dickens has appeared on stages around the world wherever the novels of Dickens are being discussed,” Jordan added.

On Thursday afternoon, August 8, author and art historian Lucinda Dickens Hawksley will present a talk about her family’s history.

“Ms. Hawksley is a well-known lecturer and author, who has written widely about Dickens, including most recently, a biography of Dickens's daughter Kate,” Jordan noted.

For the past decade, she has also been a Patron of the Charles Dickens Museum in London. She is additionally the author of a recent bicentenary edition of Charles Dickens, a biographical book containing facsimiles ranging from letters and manuscripts, to Dickens's will.

Although these special appearances are free to enrolled participants in the weeklong Dickens Universe, members of the public may also attend and get a taste of the Dickens Universe by contacting the project office at (831) 459-2103 and donating a minimum of $50 to the Friends of the Dickens Project. These seats are limited.

For more information, visit the Dickens Project web site, e-mail dpj@ucsc.edu, or contact project coordinator JoAnna Rottke at (831) 459-2103.