Shortlisted for: Costa Biography Award
Even to his contemporaries, Charles Dickens was a phenomenon. A political radical, a demonically hardworking journalist, the father of ten children, an actor and playwright, a newspaper editor, a supporter of liberal social causes, but above all else a peerless novelist and the creator of immortal characters.
Yet the brilliance concealed a selfdestructive character and a man often at war with himself. This literary trailblazer, and frequent contender for the title of the greatest Briton of all time, went from pawning his own books aged 12 to pay his fathers debts to having 100,000 readers a week at the height of his fame.
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