C.S. Lewis is one of the most innovative and influential writers of the 20th Century. His fiction continues to shape the cultural imagination of millions, while his work on “Mere Christianity” struck a resounding chord with his generation that resonates to this day.
Born and raised in east Belfast, Northern Ireland, the land of his youth always held a unique place in his heart. The mythical landscape of Northern Ireland was grafted into his fictional worlds, while the unique religious zeal that marked his homeland was cultivated and sublimated into his non-fiction.
In turn, EastSide Arts have been celebrating the author’s life and legacy since 2013 with his own dedicated festival. Building on the success of previous years, we are delighted to launch the inaugural C.S. Lewis Winter Retreat, a carefully curated three-day event designed to allow you to dive deeper into Lewis’s theological ideas, and get to know him a little better. This event will run overlap with the now much anticipated annual C.S. Lewis Festival (3-7 November 2018), giving you the additional option of extending your stay to encompass both events.
Peter Rollins, an internationally renowned writer(books include Insurrection, The Idolatry of God, and The Divine Magician), philosopher, storyteller and public speaker, has curated and will be hosting the Retreat. A Lewis fan and east Belfast native, Rollins has carefully devised a programme of lectures, discussions and artistic experiences that will help you engage with Lewis’s most interesting and potent ideas, in the very spaces and places that shaped him into the literary giant he is recognised as being today. The Retreat will engage both the ideas of Lewis, and the ideas that engaged him, teasing out some of his most interesting and potent ideas.
The Winter Retreat will take place in the absolutely stunning setting of Campbell College, a private school located in a picturesque, 100-acre wooded estate. Campbell College is located where Lewis grew up in east Belfast and indeed, Lewis attended the school for a short time as a student.
This is an exclusive retreat with spaces for just 60 guests, with time to relax and unwind in stunning surroundings. You will be welcomed with a drinks reception by one of the venue’s open fires, followed by a three-course meal in the beautiful dining room, and will continue to be pampered throughout the retreat. However, you will also learn about the life and legacy of Lewis through a series of unique, hand-picked events including tours (of the brand-new C.S. Lewis Square and world-renowned Irish countryside), music and drama by some of Northern Ireland’s most respected artists and keynote speeches and provocations by leading theological thinkers and Lewis experts. These experiences will act as catalysts for exploring Lewis’s work – its greatest insights and some of its weaknesses - and discussions about how we might emulate his spirit today.
Between events there will be time for taking a stroll through the spectacular grounds of Campbell College, enjoying a glass of wine by an open fire or continuing the conversation over a delicious meal.