Charles Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s most well-known fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. Although he had little formal education, over his career he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas and hundreds of short stories and nonfiction articles. He also lectured and performed extensively, and campaigned vigorously for children’s rights, education and other social reforms. Dickens sprang to fame with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best known work of historical fiction. Other notable works include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Great Expectations. Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 and died on June 9, 1870.