Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Enchanting festival to honour CS Lewis

The festival will feature a tour around the grounds of Campbell College
Sandy Smyth, CS Lewis tour director at the sculpture of the author at Holywood Arches

One of east Belfast's most famous sons is to be celebrated in style – with a six day festival.

The C S Lewis Festival promises to illuminate and enchant the local area and beyond, with a week of song, drama, performance, readings, recitals, talks, tours and family events.

Launched today (Thursday), the inaugural event will run from November 18-23, and marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the renowned author, theologian and academic who is perhaps most famous for writing The Chronicles of Narnia.

Organised by East Belfast Partnership and funded by Belfast City Council, the festival will feature a magical Lewis By Lamplight tour around the stunning grounds of Campbell College, the famous oldschool that Lewis attended in 1910. This will begin with the official switching on of the famous lamp which is said to have inspired the lamp in Narnia, where Lucy first met Mr Tumnus. Participants can then tour the grounds and be welcomed into the school itself to enjoy a warm mug of tea.

Festival organiser Wendy Langham said: "C.S. Lewis is one of those figures that everybody has heard of, but perhaps few realise that he was born, and for a time, was schooled in east Belfast. On the 50th anniversary of his death, the C.S. Lewis Festival seeks to discover and celebrate those connections and invite people to come on a journey with us across the east, and hopefully have a lot of fun in the process."

Campbell College will also play host to a reading of William Nicholson's play Shadowlands and a screening of the acclaimed documentary Through Joy and Beyond, looking at the rich life and career of Lewis.

The exhibition Through the Wardrobe by artist Jonathan Barry will take place at the Linenhall Library. This also includes some of Lewis' personal correspondence and items from the Library's own collection, donated by the C.S. Lewis Association of Ireland.

The Over the Hill Collective presents the Jam Jar Sessions, also at Linenhall Library - an evening of readings and music.

A new C.S. Lewis Trail will be launched, while Replay Theatre Company will tour an interactive adventure inspired by C.S.Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to P4 classes across Belfast.

As a life-long lover of debate, Lewis would have approved of the Dock Café lunchtime discussions over the course of the festival.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Lewis' death, and on the day that he becomes the first Belfast writer to be placed in Westminster Abbey's Poets Corner, the C.S. Lewis Festival will present Belfast's Poet Laureate, Sinead Morrisey, hosting a reading by four of our finest writers: Glenn Patterson, Michael Longley, Ciaran Carson and Leontia Flynn in Linen Hall Library.

A dizzying array of family friendly and schools events taking place include the C.S. Lewis Trail at Belfast Zoo, Seven Chronicles in Seven Libraries, Aslan Workshops and the C.S. Lewis Primary School Art Competition.

St Marks Church, Dundela, Lewis' old place of worship, will host a substantial series of events throughout the week to celebrate Lewis' contribution to the world of faith.

In another festival special, author and C.S. Lewis expert Sandy Smith will present the findings of his recently published book, C.S. Lewis and The Island of His Birth. Sandy will also deliver two bus tours.

For details visit www.community greenway.co.uk/CSLewisfestival

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