In 2005, the people of Belfast celebrated the work of C.S. Lewis with a Narnia-themed parade. This year, they honored Lewis with a major festival.
Belfast, Northern Ireland, hosted the first-ever festival to honor the life and work of author C.S. Lewis. Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898. He is best known for writing The Chronicles of Narnia, a fantasy series that continues to inspire young readers around the world.
The C.S. Lewis Festival lasted from November 18 to 23. It marked the 50th anniversary of Lewis’s death in 1963. It highlighted 50 years of his lasting impact as an author of fantasy, science fiction, and religious writings. The festival included many events that celebrated Lewis’s work and the ways that Belfast inspired it.
One of the highlights of the festival was a lamplight tour of Campbell College where Lewis began his secondary education. During the tour, there was a special lighting of the school lamp. It is believed to be Lewis’s inspiration for the lamppost in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the best-known book in the Narnia series. One of the story’s main characters, Lucy, meets a faun named Mr. Tumnus at the mysterious lamppost in the forest.
At Belfast’s Heyn Hall, people used props and decorations to recreate the land of Narnia. Local elementary school students were invited to the hall to experience Lewis’s fantasy world. Students also took part in the C.S. Lewis Festival Art Competition. They created artworks inspired by characters from The Chronicles of Narnia. Younger children attended workshops where they learned to make clay figures of Aslan, the talking lion from the series.
During the week of the festival, each of the seven books of The Chronicles of Narnia was read aloud at a different library across Belfast. The Linen Hall Library hosted a special exhibit of Jonathan Barry’s Narnia-inspired paintings and illustrations. Along the new C.S. Lewis Trail, many people experienced firsthand the places that shaped young Lewis’s life. The C.S. Lewis Festival was a great success. The people of Belfast hope to celebrate Lewis’s life and work with more festivals in the future.