“Stuff We Liked in 2021” by the Rabbit Room (Friday Feature)

I have mentioned before that I am a fan of the good folks at The Rabbit Room, including songwriter and storytelling brothers Andrew and Pete Peterson. Last fall they Hutchmoot: Homebound online, a digital conference of thoughtful speakers, sesssions, and resources for and by Christian artists and writers. Last years Hutchmoot included talks and performances by Diana Glyer, Malcolm Guite, and a number of other folks I love or admire, like The Gray Havens, JJ Heller, Jerry Root, and Sho Baraka. Two years ago, the Hutchmoot keynote speaker was Steve Taylor, and it was kind of brilliant.

Conceived “as an experiment in creative community” inspired by Andrew Peterson’s first visit to the Kilns, C.S. Lewis’ home in Oxford, the Rabbit Room emerged to encourage Christian artistry. The Rabbit Room was the name of the back room of the Eagle and the Child, the pub where C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and the other Oxford Inklings shared their work, challenging and encouraging one another. Inspired by the possibilities for a contemporary movement, Peterson’s Rabbit Room developed with this mission in mind:

“The Rabbit Room cultivates and curates stories, music, and art to nourish Christ-centered communities for the life of the world.”

Besides Hutchmoot and other events, the Rabbit Room website is filled with resources, including articles and essays, reviews, talks, and the Rabbit Room podcast network. There is also an entire members section and a store that includes their own press. John Stanifer noted in his piece for the Nightmare Alley Series that after C.S. Lewis’ wife, Joy Davidman, died from cancer, her previous husband, Bill Gresham, took a trip to England to visit with his sons and to meet Lewis. While at the Kilns, Gresham asked permission to make an audio recording of Lewis. Lewis read aloud from Chapter 3 of Perelandra, Chapter 13 of That Hideous Strength, and the prologue to The Canterbury Tales. The Rabbit Room recently made that recording available to the public, and the proceeds are being donated to the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton.

I have not yet gotten to a live in-person Rabbit Room event, but I have had the pleasure of being referenced by Andrew Peterson in his Hutchmoot talk, “The Delightful Shiver“–and the second part with Lanier Invester is lovely too.

https://omny.fm/shows/the-hutchmoot-podcast/the-delightful-shiver-part-1-of-2/embed?style=cover

In a radically understated blog post title, “Stuff We Liked in 2021,” the Rabbit Room team share their book, film, TV, and music discoveries of the last year. I just thought it was a great, long, chatty piece with all kinds of potentially great things to discovery–from The Princess Bride by William Goldman to My Octopus Teacher to Madeleine L’Engle inspired polyphonic choral music. There are nods here to Frank Herbert, Dorothy L. Sayers, Austin M. Farrer, Loren Wilkinson, The War On Drugs, Brandi Carlile, Robert Farrar Capon, Steve Guthrie, Hannah Hubin, Olivia Rodrigo, Jon Foreman, The Killers, Bruce Hornsby, Needtobreathe, Andrew Osenga, Dallas Willard, Pedro the Lion, James K. A. Smith, Lana del Rey, Marilynne Robinson, Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine, Taylor Swift, The Beatles, Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow, Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi, numerous references to Spiderman: No Way Home, and space for that crazy and beautiful adaptation of The Green Knight. And I suspect any Rabbit Room artist conversation couldn’t miss Wendell Berry.

You can find the full write-up here. Perhaps there is something here to add to your 2022 literary and artistic discoveries.

About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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