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Free competition asks writers to pen real-life Dickens’ characters

A competition is currently open to find a real-life Charles Dickens character.

The Journalists’ Charity, founded by Charles Dickens in 1864, has launched a competition to find real-life, modern-day characters who could have been written by Dickens himself.

As a part of the 150th anniversary of his death, the charity is asking for written descriptions of a Dickensian character who is alive today. The person could be someone in public life: a politician, or celebrity, or a member of the public who may fit the bill.

There is a 300-word limit and writers are encouraged to take inspiration from Dickens’s prose to bring their character to life.

Ian Dickens who is the author’s great-great-grandson and the president of the Dickens Fellowship said the competition was “full of rich potential and modern-day relevance” because the depth of characters that Dickens created.

“Drawn from acute observation of those he knew and those he chanced upon, they connect with the reader because we all recognise elements within them,” he said. “And such rich pickings continue to place themselves firmly in front of us every day, if we bother to stop, listen and imagine. I can’t wait to meet them.”

The competition is free to enter but a small donation is also encouraged to support journalists.

Ramsay Smith, chairman of the Journalists’ Charity, said: “Journalists the world over are doing a brilliant job reporting the coronavirus pandemic, but the reality is that many, particularly freelance journalists, are facing an extremely challenging time. This competition provides a great opportunity for people – journalists and non-journalists alike – to put their creative skills to work in these strange times. We hope everyone who holds the works of Dickens dear will take part.”

Head over to to enter.

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