Many of you will know that I am a great admirer and, as far as I am able, a follower of CS Lewis, without doubt one of he most influential people in my life. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of his death. There will be many events, conferences and meetings across the world to celebrate and commemorate his life and legacy, but I thought it might be useful for readers of my blog to let you know which of these various events I will be involved in. (also a useful reminder to me, so that I can try to be in the right place at the right time!) In this post I’ll give you the lowdown about the first one, the San Diego Summer Conference, and then list the others about which I’ll blog in more detail later.
So first up is the CS Lewis Summer Conference in San Diego June 21-23rd. This is going to be a major event focusing on Vision and Vocation in Lewis, both his own and the new vision and sense of vocation he can inspire in us, all focused through listening for his distinctive and unique voice amidst the modern cacophony. I will be giving the daily meditations at this conference, reading poetry and also performing with the amazing Steve Bell who will also be there as one of the resident artists and performers. But the real heart of these CS Lewis Foundation events is not just the lectures and seminars, good as they are, but the sense of community and interconnection, the friendships inspired, the new projects begun. I have seen the genesis of new books, plays, poems and songs, new collaborations and scholarly projects, all happening over coffees in corridors at these conferences, or over a beer in the famous evening sessions known collectively as ‘The Bag End Cafe”. I’m really looking forward to this one. My collaboration with Steve Bell on his last album started at the Foundations Oxbridge Conference in 2011 and we are going to be working on some new material after the San Diego meet. Steve has blogged about it here. They have assembled a great team of speakers including Peter Kreeft, James Como, Diana Glyer and Andrew Lazo. Check them all out here: Speakers and Artists. There are ‘early bird’ discounts on booking this conference still available until the April 25th.
July 14-19th there will be an Inklings Week in Oxford with all kinds of talks and events. I’ll be speaking on the Friday 19th July
On the 21st and 22nd of September there is going to be the CS Lewis Jubilee Festival, a weekend of events and talks on Lewis in Headington, centred on the church where he worshipped. I will be speaking on the evening of Saturday 21st on Lewis’s poetry and science fiction. Alister McGrath will also be speaking at this event.
Then in November around the anniversary of his death itself there is going to be a major conference and event at Westminster Abbey leading up to the ceremony on the 22nd of November when Lewis will be inducted into poet’s corner. At the conference I will be speaking on Lewis’ use of imagination as a truth-bearing faculty, in a lecture complementing a talk by Alister McGrath on Lewis’s use of Reason in apologetics.
Then on the 23rd November there will be a conference in Magdalene College Cambridge, where Lewis was a fellow. I will be giving a paper on the contemporary relevance of Lewis’s prophetic words in The Abolition of Man.
Phew! well I hope I’m able to meet some of the readers of this blog afresh, or for the first time at one or other of these events.