THEY are household names from Hampshire, and millions have read their works worldwide.

Now the Winchester Discovery Centre is offering the chance to get to know the “real” Charles Dickens and Jane Austen as part of their spring lecture series.

The event on Charles Dickens will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday, March 25.

His relative, Lucinda Hawksley, will be talking about the loves and life of her great-great-great grandfather, paying particular attention to his association with Hampshire.

She will discuss the woman who broke Dickens’s heart when he was young, as well as the young woman he left his wife for when at the height of his literary fame.

She has given talks across the globe and has written two books, Katey: The Life and Loves of Dickens’s Artist Daughter and Lizzie Siddal: Face of the Pre-Raphaelites.

On Wednesday, April 22, at 7.30pm, it will be time for Jane Austen to come under the microscope.

Kirsten Elliott will make the case that scholars failed to recognise Jane Austen’s “mischievous side”.

She says that her deadpan remarks, which were intended to make people laugh, seem to have been taken deadly seriously by many a commentator.

Using evidence from Austen’s letters and books, she will reveal satire, in-jokes, innuendoes and occasional surrealism to cast a different light on some of the best-known plots and characters in English literature.

Tickets cost £7.50 and are available from Winchester Discovery Centre, online at winchester and by calling 01962 873603.