Dickens 150 Programme here; schedule subject to change

9 June 2020 will mark the 150th anniversary of the death of globally beloved author Charles Dickens (1812-1870). Unfortunately, many planned celebrations have been cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To encourage support of research and writing as our world copes with this crisis, and to bring us together for an important anniversary in this time of social distancing, #Dickens150, a virtual transatlantic global gathering, will take place on this date. All proceeds, after covering a minor technology fee, will be donated to the Charles Dickens Museum, London.

The event, which will take place on the video-conferencing platform Zoom, includes over 50 speakers from 10 countries in many different time zones. We have raised over £1500 for the Dickens Museum so far – join us to commemorate the anniversary and raise money to help this important cultural institution survive.

Please note: We’re not necessarily expecting participants to be present all day; the idea is that people can dip in and out to talks/sessions which most interest them, depending on their time zone and the demands of their personal schedule. If you have any questions, please contact the organisers at and

All Times in BST: Use Time Zone Converter to calculate


Organisers: Emily Bell, Loughborough University and Lydia Craig, Loyola University Chicago

Tech Chair: Deborah Siddoway, Independent Scholar


9:30am             Zoom Main Room Open

10am               Welcome and Guidelines


10:15am          Keynote 1:

The Plot to Bury Dickens: Capitalising on the Demise of a Victorian Celebrity

                          Leon Litvack, Queen’s University Belfast

Chair: Emily Bell, Loughborough University 


10:55am          Break

11:15am          Parallel Panels (Breakout Rooms)


Panel 1A: Digital Dickens

Chair: Louise Creechan, University of Glasgow

What do Dickens’s characters do while they speak?

                          Michaela Mahlberg, University of Birmingham

                          Viola Wiegand, University of Birmingham

Deciphering Dickens

                          John Bowen, University of York

                          Emma Curry, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Misadventures in Dickens Land

                          Carolyn Oulton, Canterbury Christ Church University


Panel 1B: Communicating Dickens 

Chair: Catherine Waters, University of Kent

Dickens’s Ambiguous Publics

                          Matthias Bauer, University of Tübingen

                          Angelika Zirker, University of Tübingen

The Power of Law in Oliver Twist: Monks’s Revenge and Oliver’s Suffering

                          Akiko Takei, Chukyo University

‘These Acres of Print’: Charles Dickens, the News, and the Novel as Pattern

                          Jessica R. Valdez, University of Hong Kong

Sentimental Transport and Stoic Sacrifice in A Tale of Two Cities

                          Richard Bonfiglio, Sogang University


12:05pm          Changeover


12:15pm          Lightning Talks, Session 1

Chair: Lydia Craig, Loyola University Chicago

Dickens and Darwin: The Religiosity of Natural Selection in All the Year Round

                          Olivia DeClark, University of Delaware

Writing Travel: Dickens’s ‘Road Movies’

                          Julia Kuehn, University of Hong Kong

Charles Dickens and The Life of Our Lord (1934): Literature, Theology, and Moral Beauty

                          Esther T. Hu, Boston University

An Interdisciplinary Meta-Biography of Charles Dickens

                          Shelley Anne Galpin, University of York

Mistletoe and Carnage: An Adaptation of Dickens’s Christmas Classic

                          Shannon Scott, University of St. Thomas


12:45pm          Lunch

1:30pm            Speed Networking


1:45pm            Film Exhibition: Dickens & Company

                          Jeremy Parrott, Independent Scholar


2:25pm            Changeover


2:30pm            Roundtable 1: Dickens and Contagion

Chair: Lydia Craig, Loyola University Chicago

                          Pamela Gilbert, University of Florida

                          Sean Grass, Rochester Institute of Technology

                          Eric Lorentzen, University of Mary Washington

                          Natalie McKnight, Boston University

                          Lillian Nayder, Bates College

                          Pete Orford, University of Buckingham


3:20pm           Time Zone Shift: Welcome and Guidelines


3:35pm            Roundtable 2: Futures in Dickens Studies 

Chair: Emily Bell, Loughborough University

                          Malcolm Andrews, University of Kent (Editor of The Dickensian)

                          Edward Guiliano, New York Institute of Technology (Editor of Dickens Studies Annual)

                          Natalie McKnight, Boston University (President of The Dickens Society)

                          Dominic Rainsford, Aarhus University (Editor of Dickens Quarterly)


4:05pm            Break


4:20pm            Keynote 2

Christmas in Cloisterham: Dickens, serialisation and Edwin Drood’s terrible timing

                          Pete Orford, University of Buckingham

Chair: Lydia Craig, Loyola University Chicago

5pm                 Changeover

5:05pm            Parallel Panels (Breakout Rooms)


Panel 2A: Theatrical Dickens

Chair: Chris Louttit, Radboud University

‘An Ending in Accordance with your Specifications’: Broadway Solves The Mystery of Edwin Droooooooood

                          Louise Creechan, University of Glasgow

A Christmas Carol: Reborn… In Two Parts

                          Tiffany Antone, Iowa State University

Staging a Multiplot Novel in Thirty Minutes or Less: Practical and Impractical Lessons from the Annual Dickens Universe

                          Adam Abraham, Auburn University

Charles Dickens, ‘Sincerely Repentant’ Playwright

                          Catherine Quirk, Concordia University


Panel 2B: Dickens and the City

Chair: Leslie Simon, Utah Valley University

A Tale of Two Cities Study-in-Residence Course: Using Dickens to Explore the Concept of “History”

                          Stephen Himes, Knowledge Travels

Walk Far and Fast: Senate House Library’s Childhood in Dickensian London Exhibition in 10 Objects in 10 Minutes

                          Tansy Barton, Senate House Library, University of London

                          Leila Kassir, Senate House Library, University of London

Landscapes of the City and the Self in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations

                          Alina Cojocaru, Ovidius University

Precarity and Mobility in Little Dorrit

                          Trish Bredar, University of Notre Dame


Panel 2C: Education, Culture, Society

Chair: Mary Ann Tobin, The Pennsylvania State University

The Role of Soft Power in Dickens’s Ambivalence toward North America

                          Melina Martin, College of DuPage

Victorian Edgeworth, Irish Dickens: Hunger and Dickens’s Radical Roots

                          Yon Ji Sol, University of Minnesota

Steerforth, Micawber, and Latin-based Masculinity in David Copperfield

                          Christian Lehmann, Bard High School Early College


5:55pm            Break


6:15pm            Lightning Talks, Session 2

Chair: Emily Bell, Loughborough University

Care Communities and the Dickensian Social Model

                          Talia Schaffer, Queens College, CUNY

Sales, Consumption and Dickens’s Working Women

                          Anne Summers, Norwich University

Dickens, Decay and Doomed Spirits

                          Katie Bell, Independent Scholar

Reimagining Melodrama in The Old Curiosity Shop

                          James Armstrong, City University of New York

Two Recent Oliver Twist Comics

                          Christian Lehmann, Bard High School Early College


6:45pm            Changeover

6:50pm            Parallel Panels (Breakout Rooms)


Panel 3A: Teaching Dickens Digitally

Chair: Esther T. Hu, Boston University

How to Teach Dickens Asynchronously: COVE and COVID-19

                          Dino Franco Felluga, Purdue University (General Editor of COVE)

The Social Nature of Teaching Dickens Before, During, and After COVID-19

                          Katherine J. Kim, Molloy College

The Victorian Web: A Classroom and Critical Dickens Resource.

                          Philip Allingham (Contributing Editor, The Victorian Web)


Panel 3B: Dickens, Adaptation and Influence

Chair: James Armstrong, City University of New York

Heart of Darkness?: Dickens in Dialogue with Himself via H.G. Parry’s The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

                          Gina Dalfonzo, Dickensblog

‘A Mystery in Itself’: Drood in Matthew Pearl’s The Last Dickens

                          Mary Ann Tobin, The Pennsylvania State University

Beyond the Attic: Rethinking Dickens and Little Women

                          Matthew Redmond, Stanford University


Panel 3C: Bleak House : Its Sounds and Environments

Chair: Matt Poland, University of Washington

‘It Must be Heard’: Modern Authorship and the Storytelling Tradition in Bleak House

                          Jennifer Tinonga-Valle, University of California, Davis

Living Gothic Spaces: Reconsidering the Bleak House Dark Plates

                          Holly Wiegand, Boston University

Fire and Flood: Ecological Apocalypse and Female Agency in Bleak House

                          Jennifer Heine, University of Southern California


7:40pm           Changeover

7:45pm           Speed Networking

8pm                 Q&A with Armando Iannucci, interviewed by Lucinda Hawksley

8:30pm           End

Rooms close by 9pm

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