... a literary project to celebrate Medway's Dickens One Fifty

In 'The Empty Chair' we are inviting Medway residents to fill the spaces left by Charles Dickens with their own writing.

Throughout 2020, Wordsmithery had planned to be running writing workshops and open mics, and curating a Poetry Trail around locations which have links to Dickens - but then the global pandemic put a halt on that.

We are instead, sharing some weekly online writing prompts our 'Quarantine Writing' (offsite link) and hope to have the Poetry Trail installed for December. 

We have also curated 'The Empty Chair in Lockdown' podcast which is available to listen to here on SoundCloud. Listen to poetry and stories sparked by Charles Dickens. Our writers have given us a range of interpretations, all inspired by Charles Dickens’ works and life.


All of Dickens’ books in 150 words, a murderous sister, a ghostly villanelle, Dickens on stage, imagining a nighttime walk with Charlie, a personal view of mental health, an imagined memoir and a memory of the Dickens Festival past.  Plus Barry Fentiman Hall reads ‘The Ivy Green’ and ‘The Song of the Wreck’ by Charles Dickens.       

(Recommended listening age 14+).

The Empty Chair online writing prompts for Dickens 150

Here are a few writing prompts - suitable for all ages. We'd love to see your poems and stories based on these ideas! Email us.   

Dickens Glossary Poetry:

Choose one word (or more) from the list below which were all allegedly coined by Dickens. Write a poem (any style) of up to 40 lines.

abuzz / the creeps/ devil-may-care / flummox / sawbones / whiz-bang / boredom / 

bah humbug / rampage

*If you want to choose other words, you can find a glossary of words used by Dickens on this external site.   

Dickens Short Story Generator:

Choose a quote from one of Charles Dickens' novels. Write a 500-word  flash fiction story inspired by it. Use one of the quotes below, or choose a line from your favourite novel.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." (A Tale of Two Cities)

"Please, sir, I want some more." (Oliver Twist)

"Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts." (Hard Times)


The project has been commissioned by Medway Council and Wordsmithery is working in partnership with The Guildhall Museum, Medway Adult Education and Medway Libraries, with support from the Arts Development Team. 

Bonus Word Fun!

Just for fun, we have created two Dickens themed word searches - which you can download and print. (Click on the image, right-click, save image, or, open image in new tab and print from Internet Explorer.)

Dickens word search1
Dickens word search 2