Dickens was sent to work in a blacking factory as a child when his father went to prison for bad debt. He experienced the terrible factory conditions he would later write about in novels. People who study Dickens theorize that this is a key reason why he returned so frequently to the subject of the lost, exploited child. (source)
One of Dickens's best friend was Wilkie Collins, the English writer who helped invent the mystery novel. Another friend was American poet and short-story writer Edgar Allan Poe, but Poe ended the friendship after reading a mean piece about American poetry that he thought Dickens had written. In fact, Dickens's friend, the author William Makepeace Thackeray, wrote the article. (source)
Wildly popular in his day, Dickens was nicknamed "The Inimitable." (source)
There's a theme park in England dedicated to Dickens. Shmoop field trip!!! (source)
In the last years of his life, Dickens fell in love with a beautiful actress named Ellen Ternan, and she became his mistress. Though he was separated from his wife and ten (!) children, there was no way that he could marry Ellen. Tragic love story, or gross mid-life crisis? (source)
Satis House is a real place, and you can visit. Shmoop field trip #2!!!
Ugh, Dickens only wrote so much because he was paid by the word. Right? Wrong! Dickens was paid by installment. All those words are there for a reason—trust us. (source)