The Dickens News


Hot Press Release 23.03.2012 – 

 CoolTan Arts to Publish

The Dickens News

DickensR-1DickensLto commemorate the Bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens

Over the coming year,

CoolTan Arts,

 a Walworth based arts-in-mental health charity,

will be working with a group of participants and volunteers to create

“The Dickens News”.

An original newspaper inspired by Dickens’ first novel The Pickwick Papers.

Produced in partnership with The Southwark News, the publication will explore Southwark’s heritage through the prism of Charles Dickens and his early life.


Experiences in Southwark inspired the authors work. He spent his early years in Lant Street and his father was imprisoned for debt in Marshalsea prison. Later, a major theme in his work was social injustice and the enslavement of disadvantaged children and adults.

Dickens experienced personal mental distress, also spending time visiting asylums and writing about the inhumanity of treatment by restraint.

 This Heritage Lottery funded project will provide opportunities for CoolTan Arts’ participants and volunteers to gain all the skills necessary for creating their own newspaper.

Workshops will include:

Oral history, Story-telling, Creative writing, Archiving and Journalism.

The newspaper will examine the relevance of Dickens work to today and add to the social legacy created by one of our most brilliant writers.

Kevin Quinn, joint Managing Director of Southwark News said: “We regard Charles Dickens as a local lad and we’re really excited to work with CoolTan Arts in marking his bicentenary. The work CoolTan Arts is doing and has done in helping those with mental health issues and transforming people perception of mental health can never be underestimated. The works of Dickens are littered with references to the issues surrounding mental health and reflect the author’s own experiences, which are just as relevant today as they were over 100 years ago.”

The Dickens News will be published in Autumn 2012

And will form part of a print and digital Dickens heritage legacy for present and future generations to enjoy.

Exhibitions of original work will be held at CoolTan Arts, The Cuming Museum, Southwark Cathedral and The Charles Dickens Museum. Florian Schweizer, Director of Charles Dickens Museum said: “ We are delighted to be working with CoolTan Arts on this creative and inspiring project”.

Michelle Baharier, CEO of CoolTan Arts, said: ”We are so excited to play such a key part of celebrating Charles Dickens bicentenary. . This is a fantastic opportunity for our participants and volunteers to work together with the local community, learning about the history and life of Dickens in Southwark.”

Catherine Hamilton, Cuming Museum Manager said: – We are really pleased to be supporting a Walworth arts organisation in their Dickens 2012 project, especially as it will engage so many local people. Cooltan’s project marries brilliantly with the Cuming Museum’s Fact into Fiction Dickens exhibition (opening May 22).

Workshops begin in May – keep an eye on our website:    

for further details    

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