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C.S. Lewis: Influence & Relevance Today

An International Symposium of the Presbyterian Heritage Center

Learn more about Lewis, the Inklings, Tolkien, Sayers, Novels, Films, Streaming Digital, One-Man Theatrical Play and much more!

This symposium is presented by the Presbyterian Heritage Center
November 6–8, 2019

From Malta to Montreat, world-renowned scholars will assemble for an International Symposium on C.S. Lewis & the Inklings, November 6-8, 2019, in Montreat, NC. This premiere event will explore the continuing influence of these Oxford Dons on literature, religion and the public’s imagination.

Among the speakers is the only surviving member of the Lewis family — stepson Douglas Gresham, who also serves as executor of the estate and executive producer of the Narnia Films by Disney and soon-to-be films and series from Netflix. Douglas will provide a personal glimpse into C.S. Lewis and Gresham’s mother, Joy Davidman, as well as behind the scenes challenges and successes in Gresham’s efforts to bring the Narnia novels to the 21st Century through the multi-platforms via Netflix.

Symposium registration covers the program lectures and panels, program materials, the one-man C.S. Lewis play, the exhibit reception, two dinners, one luncheon, and program breaks/refreshments.

An independent non-profit educational organization that is separate from any denomination, the Presbyterian Heritage Center in Montreat has organized this symposium.

Did you hear? Ron Vincent, Executive Director of the Presbyterian Heritage Center, sat down with All About Jack: A C.S. Lewis Podcast to talk about this symposium. Check it out.

Event Leadership

Dr. Don King, Symposium Co-Chair – Professor of English and Faculty Fellow at Montreat College

Don W. King is Professor of English and Faculty Fellow at Montreat College. From 1999 to 2015, he served as the Editor of the Christian Scholar’s Review. In addition to over seventy essays and book reviews, he has published ten books, including C. S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse (2001), Hunting the Unicorn: A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter (2008), Plain to the Inward Eye: Selected Essays on C. S. Lewis (2013), The Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis: A Critical Edition (2015), Yet One More Spring: A Critical Study of Joy Davidman (2015), and Sudden Heaven: The Collected Poems of Ruth Pitter (2018). He is currently writing Soldier, Writer, Inkling: A Life of Warren Hamilton Lewis.

Douglas Howard Gresham – Executive Producer of Narnia films & Executor, C.S. Lewis Estate Malta

Doug Gresham is an American & British stage and voice-over actor, biographer, film producer & executive record producer. He is the last surviving member of the C. S. Lewis family. Living in Malta, Doug Gresham makes very limited public speaking appearances. Gresham was born in New York City, the son of writers William Lindsay Gresham and Joy Davidman. William Gresham was the author of Nightmare Alley, the classic of American noir literature, while Joy Davidman was best known for her book Smoke on the Mountain, about the Ten Commandments. The couple was divorced in 1954, and Joy moved to England with her two sons. Gresham’s mother had become friends with C. S. Lewis through correspondence, and the friendship blossomed, eventually leading to marriage in 1956. Gresham’s mother died of cancer in 1960, and Lewis continued to raise Douglas and his elder brother David, who is deceased. Lewis had adopted the boys when he married.

Dr. David Downing – Co-Director of The Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton, IL

Dr. David Downing previously served as the R.W. Schlosser Professor of English at Elizabethtown College, PA. He has published widely on C.S. Lewis, including Planets in Peril: A Critical Study of C.S. Lewis’s Ransom Trilogy (1992), The Most Reluctant Convert: C.S. Lewis’s Journey to Faith (2002), Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C.S. Lewis (2005), and Into the Wardrobe: C.S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles (2005). David is also the editor of C.S. Lewis’s The Pilgrim’s Regress: The Wade Annotated Edition (2014). A prolific speaker and writer, David has spoken extensively throughout the U.S. and internationally. He has received numerous teaching awards and holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California at Los Angeles. He is co-holder of the Marion E. Wade Chair of Christian Thought at Wheaton College.

Tom Key – Executive Artistic Director, Theatrical Outfit, Atlanta, GA

For over three decades, Tom Key has starred in C.S. Lewis On Stage. The one-man play captures the personality and fiction of the author of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters. The play reveals an Oxford Don who made his audience think as deeply as he made them laugh. Tom Key has been performed internationally, including appearances at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Harvard University, Yale University and at Oxford University. Tom Key has served since 1995 as the Executive Artistic Director of Atlanta-based Theatrical Outfit. He has been a solo performer in demand across North America for more than two decades. A 1977 honors MA graduate in Theater Arts from The University of Tennessee, Key served as Artist in Residence and Guest Lecturer from 1991 to 1997 at Emory University and resides in Atlanta with his wife Beverly Key, visual artist and mother to their three children.

Dr. Diana Pavlac Glyer – Professor of English Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA

Dr. Diana Pavlac Glyer is an award-winning writer who has spent more than 40 years combing through archives and studying old manuscripts. She is a leading expert on C.S.Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; her book The Company They Keep (2007), changed the way we talk about these writers. Her scholarship, her teaching, and her work as an artist all circle back to one common theme: creativity thrives in community. Her latest books are BANDERSNATCH: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings and (coming soon) The Major and the Missionary: A Love Story. Glyer has published widely, including contributions to The Pilgrim's Guide: C. S. Lewis and the Art of Witness, edited by David Mills; The C. S. Lewis Reader's Encyclopedia, edited by Jeffrey D. Schultz and John G. West, Jr.; and C. S. Lewis: Life, Works, and Legacy, edited by Bruce L. Edwards.

Dr. Crystal Downing – Co-Director of the The Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton, IL

Dr. Crystal Downing was Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies at Messiah College, PA. She has published on a variety of topics, with much of her recent scholarship focused on the relationship between cultural theory and religious faith. Her first book, Writing Performances: The Stages of Dorothy L. Sayers (Palgrave Macmillan 2004) received an international award from the Dorothy L. Sayers Society in Cambridge, England in 2009. The influence of Sayers and C.S. Lewis is evident in Crystal’s two books, How Postmodernism Serves (My) Faith (IVP Academic 2006) and Changing Signs of Truth (IVP Academic 2012). She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is co-holder of the Marion E. Wade Chair of Christian Thought at Wheaton College.

Rev. Dr. Earl F. Palmer – Earl Palmer Ministries, Seattle, WA

Dr. Earl Palmer is a world-renowned speaker on C.S. Lewis. Among his lectures and media appearances, he has expounded on the “Life, Faith and Stories of C.S. Lewis” and other Lewis-related topics. Dr. Palmer spends the summer in England where he leads residential conferences at The Kilns, the Oxford home of C.S. Lewis. He has a strong interest in pursuing theological themes that are present in classic and contemporary literature, with particular focus on such authors as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth. He is retired as senior pastor of University Presbyterian Church, Seattle, WA. He has served in Union Church in Manila, First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, and The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. He then went on to Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, where he earned his master's of divinity. He is a noted speaker and has authored nearly two dozen books.

Dr. Jerry Root – Professor of Evangelism at Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

Jerry has been studying C. S. Lewis and a constellation of subjects related to Lewis since 1970. Both his M.Div. thesis and Ph.D. dissertation were about C. S. Lewis. He has taught college and university courses on C. S. Lewis continuously since 1980. He has lectured on Lewis at 59 colleges and universities in 9 different countries. Among his authored books are: The Quotable Lewis with Wayne Martindale; The Soul of C. S. Lewis: A Meditative Journey through Twenty-Six of His Best-Loved Writings with Wayne Martindale, Linda Washington, Livingstone; C. S. Lewis and a Problem of Evil: An Investigation of a Pervasive Theme (Princeton Theological Monograph Series Book 96).

Dr. Harry Lee (Hal) Poe – Professor of Faith and Culture at Union University, Jackson, TN

Previously, Hal served as vice president at Union University and held earlier teaching and administrative posts at Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Poe teaches, lectures, and writes about C.S. Lewis and the Inklings. His books include The Inklings of Oxford (Zondervan, 2009), as well as four books on science and religion. He is co-editor with his daughter Rebecca of C. S. Lewis Remembered (Zondervan, 2006) a book of recollections by the former students of Lewis. Dr. Poe serves on several boards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation and Museum of Richmond, VA of which he was president for ten years, the American Scientific Affiliation of which he served as president, and the Christian Scholar’s Review. Formerly he served with the C. S. Lewis Foundation of Redlands, CA, and Oxford, England, with which he also worked as program director for the triennial C. S. Lewis Summer Institute in Oxford and Cambridge. He is the founder of the Inklings Fellowship and directs its annual Christianity in the Academy Conference and Inklings Weekend in Montreat, as well as its triennial Inklings Week in Oxford.

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