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The Inklings of Oxford

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and their Friends


Grand Rapids, MI – For the fans of legendary authors J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis—the Oxford friends who dubbed their literary circle “The Inklings”—a new full-color book delivers an insider’s look into their friendships, careers and the city that shaped their lives together.   The Inklings of Oxford (July 2009, Zondervan), with text by Harry Lee Poe and photography by James Ray Veneman, is a guide to a unique group of authors that has powerfully affected culture worldwide and a guide to the city where they lived and wrote.

“The Inklings of Oxford is more than a travel book, and it is more than a fan book,” says John Topliff, Vice President of Marketing at Zondervan. “It is a beautiful and timeless tribute to friendship and the power of ideas.”

The only full-color introduction to this influential group of writers, The Inklings of Oxford sketches their unique personalities and how the celebrated town shaped their lives.  The Inklings literary circle met in Oxford from the early 1930s until the early 1960s and included many well-known writers. But the two most famed members were J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.  Tolkien and Lewis lived and studied all around Oxford, and this quaint town’s culture, history and landmarks featured prominently in their theology, philosophy and writing.

Tolkien and Lewis, brought together by their interest in myths and ancient stories, would read their own writings to the Inklings.  It was this group that first heard—and encouraged the writing of such classics as The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia series and Out of the Silent Planet.

“This is not an ordinary book.  It is both a picture book and a storybook,” writes Harry Lee Poe in the first chapter.  “This book tells all about a place and the friends who lived there.  Places do not make us, but they provide the physical space in which we relate to the people who play such an important role, for good or for ill, in shaping who we become.”  The Inklings of Oxford, through original photography and detailed prose, describes the many places that were special to the Inklings, matching their words and writings to the places where these friends met, argued, discussed and lived.