Charles Dickens, author of numerous classics including Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol, attended elementary school until his life took a twist of its own when his father was imprisoned for debt. At age 12, he left school and began working ten-hour days in a boot-blacking factory. Dickens later worked as a law clerk and a court stenographer. At age 22, he became a journalist, reporting parliamentary debate and covering election campaigns for a newspaper. His first collection of stories, Sketches by Boz (Boz was his nickname), was published in 1836 and led to his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, in March 1836.