While I am looking forward to the biennial L.M. Montgomery Conference in June here in PEI, and while ISRLC in Europe is pretty cool (Uppsala, SE) and I can’t wait to get to my next Mythcon (2018 is Atlanta, GA) or attend my first Mythmoot (2018 in Leesburg, VA), my absolute favourite conference for building a community of scholarship is the C.S. Lewis & Friends Colloquium, also known as the “Taylor conference.” You should go–and if you are working in academics or applied pastoral work in the Inklings, you should consider submitting a paper proposal.
Granted, some of my love for this conference is that this is where I launched my work in Inklings studies. In 2012, I presented a paper on teaching The Screwtape Letters, and I wasn’t thrown out or shown to be the fraud I secretly am. In 2016 I presented my “Cosmic Find in The Screwtape Letters” work with a paper entitled, “When Screwtape Haunts in Eden” (and I’m preparing that paper for publication next year). This year we have some exciting work coming up on C.S. Lewis’ unfinished teen novel, The Quest of Bleheris. Stay tuned for more.
What makes the Taylor conference so worth attending is that it intentionally creates a space for the development of emerging scholars while retaining a place for senior academics to test out ideas. You can see that in past schedules, but perhaps the best barometer of this kind of culture is that the keynote speakers often stick around for the conference, and you can see senior scholars walking with the younger ones. No doubt there are cabals of experienced professors with heads titled together in dialogue about some new idea or concern. But the generosity of spirit of the veterans is such a critical feature at Taylor.
Plus, the stiff-chinned need to call these sorts of things “academic conferences” interferes not at all with the open space given to art, music, friendship, and worship.
This year’s theme is “The Faithful Imagination,” and includes a stellar cast of keynote speakers, including Stephen Prickett (student of C.S. Lewis and Geo. MacDonald scholar), Crystal Downing (new co-director of the Wade centre), Ron Reed (from Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre), D. S. Martin (a Canadian poet), Joe Christopher (Lewis veteran and occasional haunter of this site), Crystal Hurd (scholar of leadership and leading historian about Lewis’ parents and child life), and Charlie Starr (of Lewis Handwriting Chart fame). ‘Twill be awesome. And, by the way, because it is good to honour the past, the C.S. Lewis & Friends Colloquium is perhaps more officially called the 11th biennial Frances White Ewbank Colloquium of the Center for the Study of C. S. Lewis & Friends at Taylor University. Taylor also hosts one of the more important American archives for C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, and others (see here for more on the Edwin Brown collection at Taylor).
Call for Paper Submissions (link here)
We invite paper proposals on any topic related to C. S. Lewis and Friends (broadly defined)–Owen Barfield, G. K. Chesterton, George MacDonald, Dorothy L. Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and others. We especially encourage papers and presentations that respond to the conference theme of “The Faithful Imagination,” that respond to papers from previous colloquiua, that expand the circle of “friends,” and that are the work of new scholars. Proposals should be 100-200 words in length and should anticipate a twenty-minute presentation time limit.
We also invite creative work—poetry, fiction, essay, drama, film, visual art, musical composition, etc. —that responds to or is influenced by these same authors. Creative submissions should be a complete work, rather than a proposal. Please include your name, contact information, and a brief biography.
Deadline for proposals is March 31, 2018. Please submit proposals by email, directly to the Lewis Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best way to be aware of colloquium news and updates is to bookmark this site. Additional information, revisions, and updates will be posted regularly between now and May 31. You should also follow The Center for the Study of C. S. Lewis and Friends on Facebook.
Taylor Conference Podcast at All About Jack
This podcast here is an interview with Dr. Joseph Ricke, who heads up by The Center for the Study of C.S. Lewis & Friends at Taylor University. It is sponsoring the 11th Frances W. Ewbank Colloquium, May 31st – June 3rd, 2018. The C.S. Lewis and Inklings Society is joining in on this event.