Bid to honour Charles Dickens’ Scottish connections

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One of the world’s leading authorities on the work of Charles Dickens is planning to establish the first Dickens Fellowship in Scotland.

Dr Paul Schlicke, who taught at Aberdeen University for 40 years, hopes to set up a branch of the fellowship in Aberdeen to mark the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth.

Dr Schlicke, who lives in Inverurie, said creating the first Scottish Fellowship branch in the writer’s bicentenary year would add to Scotland’s long association with Dickens.

“Dickens’ introduction to the literary elite of the period came via his Scots editor, George Hogarth, whose daughter he later married,” he said. “At the age of just 29 he was given the Freedom of Edinburgh and he toured the country extensively, including visits to Aberdeen.

“On 4 May, 1858, he gave two performances in the County Rooms, now the Music Hall, reading from Dombey and Son at the matinee and A Christmas Carol in the evening. He returned to the Granite City on 16 May, 1866, when he read from David Copperfield and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.”

He added: “It seems fitting therefore that Scotland should have its own branch of the Dickens Fellowship.”

Dr Schlicke has served as chairman of the trustees of the Dickens Museum in London.

He said: “Anyone who enjoys Dickens on the page or stage, telly or cinema is welcome. The purpose of such a group will be primarily social enjoyment rather than dry-as-dust scholarship.”