History of the C.S. Lewis and Inklings Society

Our History

About Our Society

The C. S. Lewis and Inklings Society (CSLIS) was created in the spring of 2004 and now sponsors the annual C. S. Lewis and Inklings Conference. Based out of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Society hosts plenary speakers, features papers presented by various Inklings enthusiasts, and is open to faculty, independent scholars, and students. The first C. S. Lewis and Inklings Conference was held in 1998 at Oklahoma City University. Since then, the annual conference has been held in eleven different locations across the country. Each year the conference has grown to appeal to its attendants—an increasing number of college professors, students, and the general public.

Conference Locations

John Brown University (2016)
Grove City College (2015)
Wesleyan College (2014)
LeTourneau University (2013)
Taylor University (2012)
Oral Roberts University (2011)
Oklahoma City University (2010)
Calvin College (2009)
Grove City College (2008)
Hardin-Simmons University (2007)
John Brown University (2006)
Oral Roberts University (2005)
LeTourneau University (2004)
Oklahoma City University (2003)
Amarillo College (2002)
University of Central Oklahoma (2000)
Oral Roberts University (1999)
Oklahoma City University (1998)

18th Annual Conference (March 26-28, 2015)
– Grove City College

The 18th Annual CSLIS Conference was based on the theme “The Fellowship of the Book: The Inklings in Community” and addressed the importance of the camaraderie that the members of the Inklings shared. Keynote speakers included Diana Glyer, author of The Company They Keep—a book that explores the friendship of the Inklings and its impact on their lives—and Jerry Root, an associate professor at Wheaton College who has taught courses on Lewis around the world for over twenty years.

Diana Glyer

Jerry Root

Dr. Mark Hall with Jerry Root
and Diana Glyer (R to L)

Question and Answer Panel

2015 CSLIS Conference Award Winners

17th Annual Conference (April 3- April 5, 2014)
– Wesleyan University

In 2014, CSLIS entitled its 17th Annual Conference “A Culture of Death? Inklings and Modernity.” The conference featured theologian, philosopher, cultural commentator, and 2011 winner of the Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing David Bentley Hart as the keynote speaker. Dr. Hart and other conference speakers discussed the philosophies held by modern culture and the Inklings' responses to it.

16th Annual Conference (March 21- March 23, 2013)
– LeTourneau University

The 2013 CSLIS Conference, held in conjunction with LeTourneau University’s annual C.S. Lewis and the Inklings Conference, featured keynote speaker Dr. Ralph Wood. Dr. Wood is a professor of theology and literature at Baylor University and an editor for Christian Century magazine. He, as well as other speakers and writers at the conference, presented on topics concerning the conference theme “Fairytales in the Age of iPads: Inklings, Imagination, and Technology.”

2013 Award Winners

Dr. Mark Hall, CSLIS President 2012-2013

15th Annual Conference (May 31- June 2, 2012)
– Taylor University

The 15th Annual CSLIS Conference featured special guest speakers David Downing (Into the Wardrobe), playwright and actor Ron Reed (Freud’s Last Session), and Charlie Starr, the director of Light: C.S. Lewis' First and Final Short Story. The 2012 CSLIS Conference was put on in conjunction with Taylor University’s Eighth Frances White Ewbank Colloquium on C.S. Lewis & Friends.

David Downing

Ron Reed

Attendees During a Break

Charlie Starr

14th Annual Conference (April 1-2, 2011)
– Oral Roberts University

The 14th Annual CSLIS Conference featured speakers Andrew Lazo and Kurt Bruner, whose speeches explored the conference theme “The Face of Myth in a World of Reason.” Andrew Lazo, a respected speaker and scholar of C.S. Lewis, literature, and mythology, gave a presentation entitled “Illuminating Ungit: Unveiling the Deep Mysteries of Love in C.S. Lewis’s Last Novel." Kurt Bruner, author of books Finding God in Narnia and Finding God in Lord of the Rings, presented on themes found in his books.

13th Annual Conference (April 9-10, 2010)
– Oklahoma City University

The 2010 CSLIS Conference was entitled “Discovering Hidden Truth.” Featured speakers included Michael Ward—a senior research fellow at Oxford, professor of Christian Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, and author of The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis, The Narnia Code, and Planet Narnia—and Diana Glyer—award-winning author of The Company They Keep, and several other books, articles, and essays on the Inklings.

Michael Ward and Diana Glyer

12th Annual Conference (March 26-28, 2009)
– Calvin College

The 12th Annual CSLIS Conference, which featured keynote speakers Dr. Peter Schakel and Dr. Devin Brown, focused on the theme “Inklings: Dinosaurs or Contemporaries?” Dr. Schakel, professor of English literature at Hope College, has authored numerous books on C.S. Lewis and his writings. Dr. Brown is a professor of English at Asbury University and is the author of Inside Narnia. His conference presentation was entitled “Are The Chronicles of Narnia Sexist and Racist?” in which he explored and discussed some controversial accusations that have been brought against these novels.

Amphion Men's Ensemble, Western Michigan University

Charles Huttar, Curtis Gruenler, and Peter Schakel

David Neuhouser

Jason Blakeburn and Jonathan Himes

11th Annual Conference (April 4-5, 2008)
– Grove City College

The 11th Annual CSLIS Conference featured speakers James Como and Jerry Root. James Como is the author of several books on C.S. Lewis, including C. S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences, and has appeared on several television programs to discuss Lewis and his works. Dr. Jerry Root, an associate professor of Evangelism and Leadership at Wheaton College, has studied Lewis for over 40 years and has been lecturing and teaching about him for over 30 years. Both speakers gave presentations relating to the conference theme “C.S. Lewis and the Inklings: Communion of Saints.”

10th Annual Conference (2007)
- Hardin-Simmons University

Presentations at the 2007 CSLIS Conference revolved around the theme “The Inklings and the Spiritual Journey” and featured keynote speaker Dr. Thomas Howard, author of Narnia & Beyond: A Guide to the Fiction of C.S. Lewis and The Novels of Charles Williams. Other speakers included authors Dr. Rolland Hein, Dr. Kerry Dearborn, Dr. Ralph C. Wood, and David Neuhouser, founder of the C.S. Lewis & Friends Colloquium and the C.S. Lewis & Friends Society.

9th Annual Conference (March 3-4, 2006)
– John Brown University

The 2006 CSLIS Conference featured Pastor Derick Bingham and Dr. Tom Shippey. Pastor Bingham is from Belfast, Ireland and has written a book about C.S. Lewis' life for the Trailblazer series. Dr. Tom Shippey is a recognized expert on J.R.R. Tolkien, having not only written numerous works about him, but also personally met Tolkien and inherited some of his teaching roles at Oxford after Tolkien retired. Dr. Shippey has also appeared on several documentaries about Tolkien and his works and assisted with the production of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Dr. David Rozema and students

Pastor Derick Bingham, Keynote Speaker

Dr. Jonathan Himes and the Inklings

CSLIS Board Members Meeting

8th Annual Conference (April 1-2, 2005)
– Oral Roberts University

The 8th Annual CSLIS Conference featured Baylor University professor of theology and literature Dr. Ralph Wood as its keynote speaker. In his speech, Dr. Wood presented some of the ways in which J.R.R. Tolkien speaks to the post-modern culture. In addition, the late Dr. Christopher Mitchell of Wheaton College gave a presentation entitled “Wellness and the Art of Reading,” in which he called listeners to “model a passion for books” in every area of life.

7th Annual Conference (April 1-2, 2004)
– LeTourneau University

In 2004, the 7th Annual CSLIS Conference theme was “Mere Christians, Then and Now” and featured speakers Dr. Bruce Edwards and Dr. Louis A. Markos. Dr. Edwards is the General Editor forC.S. Lewis: Life, Works, and Legacy and the author of several books on C.S. Lewis, including Further Up and Further In, Not a Tame Lion, and numerous other essays and articles. Dr. Markos is a professor of English at Houston Baptist University, where he teaches classes on C.S. Lewis and the Inklings. He has also published a lecture series entitled The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis and is the author of several books on C.S. Lewis.

Dr. Joe Christopher, Dr. Salwa Khoddam, Dr. Faridoun Farrokh

6th Annual Conference (2003)
– Oklahoma City University

The 2003 CSLIS Conference featured speakers Dr. Rolland Hein and Dr. Don King. Dr. Hein is an award-winning professor emeritus at Wheaton College, an ordained minister, and the author of Lilith: A Variorum Edition and other books on George MacDonald. Dr. King is a professor of English at Montreat College and has also received many awards, grants, and fellowships. He is the author of several books, including C.S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse.

Students During a Break