Who was C S Lewis?
Clive Staples Lewis, was a world-famous writer and broadcaster born in Strandtown, Belfast, Northern Ireland on 29th November 1898. He was baptised in St Mark's church on 29th January 1899. Aged 4, he announced that he wished to be called 'Jack' and this became his name among his family and friends. His parents were Albert Lewis and Flora(Hamilton) Lewis and he had one brother, Warren, known as 'Warnie', his best friend all through his life. His family home, " Little Lea", described in his autobiography, " Surprised by Joy", remains near Strandtown in the suburbs of Belfast.
He became an atheist as a boy, but experienced conversion to the Christian faith in 1931, again described by him in "Surprised by Joy". After service in World War 1, Lewis became a don, a lecturer and tutor at Magdalene College, Oxford University in 1925 and Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge from 1954 .
Friendship for Lewis was "by far the chief source of my happiness". His closest friends were Arthur Greeves in Belfast, with whom he exchanged hundreds of letters through out their lives, and in Oxford Owen Barfield, J.R.R. Tolkien, Roger Lancelyn Green and Charles Williams, with whom he would spend many hours in good-humoured talk and literary discussion. Among his women friends were Sister Penelope and the poet Ruth Pitter. His relationship with the American Joy Gresham began as friendliness and developed into love, a love that was broken by her death from cancer after four years of marriage (1956-60).
Forty years after his death in 1963, his books are still being published and read all over the world by Christians and those who seek to understand that faith. Millions of children have enjoyed, and still enjoy his Tales of Narnia, the best-known story being "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Impossible to list all the books that C.S.Lewis wrote, but some of the most famous and most rewarding are: The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet (one of his three science-fiction novels), Reflection on the Psalms, The Problems of Pain, and A Grief Observed (written after his wife's death).
Two memorials to him remain in East Belfast: the stained glass window dedicated in St Mark's Church by Jack and Warnie in 1932 in memory of their parents and the bronze statue by Ross Wilson at the Arches, portraying the young man, Digory, opening the door of the wardrobe for all those who wish to enter the magic world of the books and ideas of C.S.Lewis.