Belmont students in Jonathan Thorndike’s “C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Inklings” summer class at King’s College in London had the opportunity of a lifetime to visit with Colin Duriez, well-known British scholar and author of Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend, The A-Z of C. S. Lewis, Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings: A Guide to Middle Earth, and many other books. The class met with Duriez and had lunch with him at the Lamb and Flag, one of the Oxford establishments frequented by the Inklings.
Oxford, England was the home of C. S. Lewis from 1918 until his death in 1963. J. R. R. Tolkien lived and taught there from 1925 until he died in 1973. It was in Oxford that the Christian fantasy writers’ group known as the Inklings met at the Eagle and Child public house or at C. S. Lewis’ rooms at Magdalen College. The Inklings produced some of the most influential books of the 20th century including Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
The students were thrilled with Duriez’s narration during the walking tour of Oxford. They had many good questions about his book The Gift of Friendship, which he said is being optioned for a movie script based on the life of J. R. R Tolkien. Duriez has a new book on the Inklings scheduled to be released in spring 2015, and he discussed his new book with the Belmont students. The walking tour ended at Blackwell’s Bookshop, where students were able to get books signed by the author himself.
Colin Duriez is based in Keswick, Cumbria in northwest England and writes books, edits and lectures on Lewis, Tolkien and the Inklings. He appeared as a commentator on the extended version film DVDs of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, the DVD set of Walden/Disney’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the Sony DVD about Tolkien fandom and the impact of Tolkien on popular culture. He has also participated in documentaries on PBS and the BBC. He is a part-time tutor at Lancaster University and is currently a consultant on a new film about the life of J. R. R. Tolkien.