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Why celebrating Dickens' birthday has really been the best of times

Despite great expectations for Tara PT's novel, I'm not sure that it'll still be enjoyed by the reading public in two centuries' time.

It's been joyous these last few weeks to be consumed by celebrations of Charles Dickens' work on the 200th anniversary of his birthday.

You could spend a fortnight drowning in Dickens if you hung around in the right places - BBC TV and radio; the broadsheet newspapers; Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, where Ralph Fiennes read an excerpt from Bleak House to a bunch of drooling CD fans including Charles and Camilla; Portsmouth's New Theatre Royal where the delightful Simon Callow led the birthday bash.

My favourite display of respect was Armando Iannucci's. On Tuesday the Alan Partridge and Thick of It creator tweeted 'today I celebrated Charles Dickens' birthday by standing at his grave in Westminster Abbey and laughing'.

Dickens, the master of compassionate satire, would have approved of such silly - and affectionate - behaviour.

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