A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas (commonly known as A Christmas Carol) is a book by English author Charles Dickens, that was first published on 19 December, 1843 with illustrations by John Leech. Dickens called it his "Little Christmas Book". The first of the author's five "Christmas books," (a new literary genre created incidentally) the story was instantly successful, selling over six thousand copies in one week. Completed in six weeks under financial duress to help pay off a debt, A Christmas Carol was initially to be written in his leisure moments while writing the more graver work Martin Chuzzlewit, but it soon claimed a place in the authors life that made its composition anything but a "leisure" task, he cried over it, he laughed over it, and friends who were with him during the closing months of 1843 have left their evidence of the power that story left over the novelists thoughts and imagination. A Christmas Carol has become one of the most popular and enduring Christmas stories of all time.