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Collins and Dickens - Dickens and Collins

Part of the Bicentennial Celebrations of Wilkie Collins in 2024

Registration Now Open

You can now register using the button below. Prices are:

Full conference (both days): £45

Full conference (both days) STUDENT: £30

Single day attendance: £25

Single day attendance STUDENT: £15

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Conference Details

The University of Buckingham is proud to host a two-day conference on 20-21 June 2024 exploring the dynamic between Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens to commemorate the bicentenary of Collins’s birth.


The two authors were not only great friends but also collaborated together a number of times in their work, with Collins frequently contributing to Household Words and All the Year Round. But their friendship often spilled into annoyance and rivalry, with Dickens becoming frustrated at Collins’s apparent pomposity during their trip to Italy, and Collins dismissing Dickens’s last work as ‘the melancholy work of a worn out brain.’ Critics have subsequently argued over to what extent each can be said to influence the other. We welcome paper proposals from academics, postgraduates, and enthusiasts to discuss aspects of Collins and Dickens’s works, collaborations, and influences upon one another.


The conference is supported by the Dickens Society, Wilkie Collins Society, Dickens Fellowship and Charles Dickens Museum


There are a number of options for accommodation in Buckingham town centre catering for different budgets. Prices listed here are guides only, based on information at time of press and may go up or down.

Travelodge Buckingham

Price (one person, one night): c. £45

Distance from conference: 20 minutes walking, 5 minutes driving

Website: Travelodge Buckingham Hotel - Book Now

Premier Inn Buckingham

Price (one person, one night): c. £100

Distance from conference: 22 minutes walking, 6 minutes driving

Website: Buckingham Hotel | Premier Inn

White Hart Inn

Price (one person, one night): c. £60

Distance from conference: 8 minutes walking, 2 minutes driving

Website: The White Hart, Buckingham | Greene King Inns

The Villiers Hotel

Price (one person, one night): c. £120

Distance from conference: 7 minutes walking, 1 minute driving

Website: Villiers Hotel | Best 4* Hotel in Buckingham (


Thanks to the Dickens Society, we are able to offer two £100 bursaries to postgraduates, unsalaried faculty and independent scholars presenting papers at the conference. If you wish to be considered for a bursary, please submit a one-page CV and 100-word statement alongside your paper proposal, explaining how you would benefit from speaking at the conference alongside your abstract.

No Thoroughfare: A staged reading

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As part of the conference proceedings we are excited to announce we will be staging a reading of Collins and Dickens's co-authored play No Thoroughfare. Written in 1867 as an adaptation of their Christmas Number of the same name, No Thoroughfare tells the sensational tale of Walter Wilding, foundling child searching for the truth about his past, and his friend George Vendale's pursuit of the beautiful Marguerite despite the increasingly murderous machinations of her guardian Mr Obenreizer. We'll be performing the reading of this rarely-performed play on the evening of 20th June. Expect thrills and shocks in the Swiss Alps!



Thursday 20th June 


9.00am: Registration 


9.45am: Opening Remarks – Pete Orford and Amy Coles 


10.00–11.00am: Opening Keynote – Caroline Radcliffe, "Naturalism, Realism, and the Gothic in Wilkie Collins’ The Lighthouse"


11.00–11.30am: Tea/Coffee 


11.30am–12.30pm: Panel: Monsters and Villains 


  • Esther Reilly ‘“What becomes of old giants?”: Exploring Giants of Extreme Stature in Charles Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop (1841) and Wilkie Collins’s No Name (1862)’ 


  • Cam Khaski Graglia ‘Exploring Villainy and Cliffhangers: The Collaborative Narrative of Dickens and Collins’ 


Chair: TBC 


12.30–1.30pm: Lunch (Provided) 


1.30–2.30pm: Panel: Dickens and Collins’s Working Relationship 


  • Marty Gould ‘The Foundling, the Fraudster, and the Fungus: No Thoroughfare’ 


  • Paul Lewis ‘Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens – A Financial Relationship’ 


Chair: TBC 


2.30–3.30pm: Collins or Dickens: Spirituality 


  • Tatiana Kontou vs Jen Cadwallader 


Chair: TBC 


3.30–4.00pm: Tea/Coffee 


4.00–5.15pm: Panel: Gender in Collins and Dickens 


  • Deborah Siddoway ‘The Women in White: Collins and Dickens and the Married Women’s Property Question’ 


  • Sara Dorsten ‘Wollstonecraft and Rousseau’s Victorian Afterlives: Negotiating Womanhood in the Works of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins’ 


Chair: TBC 


5.00–5.30pm: Exhibition Presentation: Mutual Friends, The Adventures of Wilkie and Charles 


  • Emma Harper, Charles Dickens Museum 


5.30–6.00pm: Pizza and Wine (Provided) 


6.00–9.00pm: No Thoroughfare, a staged reading with interval for drinks 

Friday 21st June 


9.30–10.30am: Collins or Dickens: Sensational Figures 


  • Rebecca Easler vs Esther Reilly 


Chair: TBC 


10.30–11.00am: Tea/Coffee 


11.00–12.00pm: Panel: Biography 


  • Wendy Parkins ‘“On terms of considerable intimacy’: Frances Dickinson’s Friendship with Wilkie Collins & Charles Dickens’ 


  • Jeremy Parrott ‘What Happened in Doncaster on the Real “Lazy Tour”’ 


Chair: TBC 


12.00–1.00pm: Lunch (Provided) 


1.00–2.00pm: Collins or Dickens: Sex 


  • Jo Parsons vs Colette Ramuz 


Chair: TBC 


2.00–3.00pm: Panel: Theatricality 


  • Michael Eaton ‘Adapting The Lazy Tour for Stage’ 


  • Emily Tucker ‘“An Agony…That Sometimes Overcomes Me”: Theatre versus Opium in The Mystery of Edwin Drood’ 


Chair: Elizabeth Grimshaw, The University of Buckingham 


3.00–3.30pm: Tea/Coffee 


3.30–4.30pm: Panel: Collins, Dickens, and Narrative Voice


  • Meagan Anthony ‘Walter v. Marian: The Struggle for Narrative Control in The Woman in White’ 


  • John Drew ‘Collins, Dickens and the “Missing Link”: Authorship Queries and Narrative Voice in Select Articles from All the Year Round’ 


Chair: TBC 


4.30–5.30pm: Closing Keynote – Christopher Pittard, 'Collins in Cornwall: Rambles Beyond Railways.' 

You can also see live updates on our twitter page at Buckingham English (@BuckEngLit) / X (

Conference Organisers: Pete Orford and Amy Coles

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