To provide an enriching cultural experience for all people that explores the life and work of C. S. Lewis through collaborations by the arts, education, and faith communities.
C. S. Lewis Festival, Inc. is a not-for-profit, donor-supported 501(c) (3) tax-exempt corporation that annually facilitates a month-long exploration of the life and works of the man who created Narnia. Begun in Petoskey, MI in 2003, it consists of an award-winning collaboration between schools, libraries, music and theater groups, arts programs, businesses, and religious fellowships in Northern Michigan. Events for all ages take place from late October to mid-November, and participants attend from all over the state, the Midwest, and beyond.
Since its inception, the festival has won state-wide recognition through the Imagine Michigan! initiative as well as national-international attention through its cast of world-class speakers and advisors.
Keynote speakers have included such international figures as Douglas Gresham, stepson of C. S. Lewis and co-producer of the Narnia movies (2005); Dr. Christopher Mitchell of the Wade Center at Wheaton College (2003-2005); Rev. Dr. Michael Ward, chaplain of Peterhouse, Cambridge UK, and former warden of The Kilns (2004); Dr. Andrew Cuneo of Hillsdale College (2005), former president of the Oxford CSL Society; Dr. David Neuhouser of the Center for C. S. Lewis & Friends at Taylor University, IN (2005); Rev. William McGill of Pennsylvania (2003, 2005); Dr. Dabney Hart of Atlanta, GA (2004); and many others.
And those are just our guest scholars! The local talent involved in the festival from year to year is truly amazing—from the Modern Mythology class at North Central Michigan College to the annual children’s performance of “Narnia: The Musical,” and everything in between. Each year, the collaborative effort has seen wonderful successes: budgets and schedules of participating groups are streamlined to accomplish more than any one group could alone. Leaders within these arenas get to know each other and seek further collaborative efforts from year to year. Perceived barriers between the arts, educational, and faith communities come down. And lives are enriched by new ideas and relationships. May this collaborative spirit continue!
This Project Seeks to Address...
Collaboration: Programs and resources within the arts, educational, and faith communities are rarely streamlined to work together – thus, budgets and schedules are stretched too thin. The Festival seeks to unite these communities around a subject of common interest to accomplish more than any of the groups could do on their own.
Literary Arts: While northern Michigan is considered a cultural destination, there is a dearth of opportunities in the arena of literary arts on a community-wide scale. The Festival will bring literary scholars and performing artists to our area and provide opportunities for healthy dialogue on a subject of common interest between people of all ages and backgrounds. This will also bring people to our area from around the state and Midwest who have an interest in Lewis, thus positioning the Little Traverse Bay area to become – even temporarily – a “campus” for the literary arts.
Tourism: Cultural-related tourism wanes in the area during the month of November. The Festival has the potential to draw people from around the state to boost business in participating bookstore, hotels, and restaurants.