C.S. Lewis Festival celebrates the life and work of one of Belfast’s most revered literary figures and his connection with his hometown.
East Belfast this weekend welcomes locals and visitors to C.S. Lewis Festival, the annual event that celebrates the life and work of the author of The Chronicles of Narnia.
Back for an 11th year, we pick out some of the festival’s highlights ahead of its beginning on Friday (24 November).
C.S. Lewis – one of Belfast’s most famous literary figures
C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898 and grew up in the Strandtown area in the east of the city.
He is best known for The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of seven fantasy novels published in the 1950s that have sold over 120 million copies. A classic of children’s literature, the series has spawned many adaptations across various mediums.
While The Chronicles of Narnia series is the work that best survives Lewis, he also wrote many other popular works, perhaps most notably The Space Trilogy, consisting of Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943), and That Hideous Strength (1945).
On top of his literary ventures, Lewis was a revered Oxbridge scholar and formed a literary discussion society, the Inklings, that included among its ranks The Lord of the Rings author, J.R.R. Tolkien.
C.S. Lewis Festival – a celebration of Lewis’s legacy
The C.S. Lewis Festival takes place annually in Belfast in November to celebrate the author’s legacy by connecting residents and visitors to the local places that inspired many of Lewis’s works.
2023 marks both the 11th instalment of the festival and the 60th anniversary of Lewis’s death. St. Mark’s Church, Dundela, will commemorate this anniversary with a special service and a guided tour of the church.
The tour takes place on Saturday (25 November). The event is free, but St. Mark’s asks those interested to register via telephone (028 9013 7436).
What else to expect this year – the festival’s 11th instalment
C.S. Lewis Festival promises fun for all the family in 2023. Children can look forward to the White Witch Storytelling and Mr. Tumnus Tales events that will bring them into the captivating world of Narnia.
Meanwhile, events catered to adults include the aforementioned tour of St Mark’s, a 90-minute walking tour of Strandtown, and a special drama tour in which three local actors portray characters of importance to Lewis.
Nottingham-based scholar Professor Jem Bloomfield will also launch his new book, Paths in the Snow: A Literary Journey through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which connects the literary dots found in Lewis’s work.
The festival’s centrepiece is Saturday’s Christmas at C.S. Lewis Square. This event will see a Narnia Market, Christmas Crafts with Anann’s Arch, and the switching on of the square’s Christmas lights.
Head here for full details, including times and tickets for each event.