Charles Dickens
Jill Potterton of the auction house Christie's holding a photograph that is going under the hammer, of Charles Dickens as he has never been seen before, without his beard. PA

The year 2012 marks the bicentenary of Victorian author Charles Dickens known for creating some of the most iconic novels and characters of English literature. Throughout Britain, a host of exhibitions, events and activities are being organised to celebrate the life and work of the famed author.

Born on Feb.1812, Dickens spent most of his life in Chatham, Kent, but died in Highham, close to Rochestor.

To commemorate this special anniversary, a website "Dickens 2012" has been set up providing details about all the celebrations across Britain and worldwide. This mainly includes special commemorative exhibitions that are being held in London and the UK while venues in France, Switzerland and the US will showcase the rich heritage of Dickens's life.

"Although a writer from the Victorian era, Dickens's work transcends his time, language and culture. He remains a massive contemporary influence throughout the world and his writings continue to inspire film, TV, art, literature, artists and academia," the site Dickens 2012 states.

In London, the National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of London will host two major exhibitions featuring the works of the author for over 40 years. These exhibitions will also feature paintings, photographs, costume and objects that will illustrate themes that Dickens wove into his works.

Other exhibitions will take place in Zurich's Museum Strauhof in Switzerland, the Morgan Library and the Museum in New York City featuring rare manuscripts of the author and the Museum Strauhof in Zurich, which will dedicate an exhibition to Charles Dickens' life and work.

Apart from this, a new film starring Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter and Robbie Coltrane will be released which is an adaptation of Dickens' classic book "Great Expectations". The novel revolves around an orphan and struggle as he discovers the true nature of his "great expectations".

The highly visual narrative style that Dickens adopted while writing reportedly provided the very base for cinematic language to develop. Many silver screen adaptations of his famous creations have been done through the years.

The oldest surviving film version of a work by Dickens, an adaptation of A Christmas Carol, is from 1901 and over a hundred years later Dickens's works are still being filmed for cinema and TV and every one of his 15 novels has been filmed at least twice.

Published in Dec.1843, "A Christmas Carol" tells the story of a stingy man, Ebenezer Scrooge, and his transformation after the supernatural visits of his late business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The novella received much critical acclaim and is regarded as one of the finest creations by the author.

Besides the exhibitions, parades and releases, the British Council Germany will also screen nine film adaptations of Dickens' works across three months in a Dickens 2012 film festival at the legendary Kino Babylon Cinema in Berlin.