Category Archives: The Company They Keep

QWERTY Has Moved

Yep, it’s true. QWERTY has moved to a brand new location. You can read QWERTY updates as part of my new website: 

Things are in transition right now. The moving truck has left the driveway, but there are boxes piled high and walls that need a coat of paint, not to mention pictures to hang and furniture to rearrange.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how things look, and what can be done to improve the site. Thanks for being part of it!


Family unloading boxes from moving truck (Stock Image 1785R-2584 © Kablonk)Family unloading boxes from moving truck (Stock Image 1785R-2584 © Kablonk)Family unloading boxes from moving truck (Stock Image 1785R-2584 © Kablonk)


Hooray for Newport Librarians

Back in August, a blog hosted by the librarians of Newport Public Library in Newport, Rhode Island, published this review essay. I love this kind of overview, and I’m just thrilled when libraries notice  The Company They Keep.  Kudos to Meg, who made this clear, helpful info available to readers! And thank GOD for librarians.


The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s thrilling fantasy about Frodo, Gandalf, Aragon, a giant spider named Shelob, a Dark Lord named Sauron, Orcs, Elves and Dwarves, increased in popularity when director Peter Jackson created his now famous film trilogy. At the same time the movies were being produced, scholars, readers and fans were busy, too, writing about Tolkien and his fantasy masterpiece.One of the best books written recently is The Company They Keep by Diana Pavlac Glyer (2007). She talks about Tolkien in the context of The Inklings – a group of Oxford professors and other writers (including C. S. Lewis and Charles Williams) who met on a regular basis to read to each other and give and accept criticism and suggestions. Not only is this a really good portrait of the Inklings, but Glyer also sheds some wonderfully original light on the collaborative nature of the writing process, and how none of these writers would have written as they did without the support and help of the others.

By far the best biography of JRRT was written by fellow Englishman, Humphrey Carpenter, entitled simply – J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography. This was published originally in 1977, but reissued in paperback in 2000. Carpenter also edited The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien and reading Tolkien’s letters (especially the ones that he wrote while he was creating The Lord of the Rings) provides a fine portrait of what he was struggling with as a writer and what he was trying to express with his fiction.

Tom Shippey is often considered one the preeminant experts on Tolkien and his works. Two of Shippey’s best are J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (2001) and The Road to Middle-Earth (2003).

For a more spiritual take on Tolkien’s writings try either J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth by Bradley J. Birzer (2002) or J. R. R. Tolkien: Myth, Morality and Religion by Richard Purtill (2003).

If you just want one book that brings together many of the essays about Tolkien and his most famous work, check out Understanding the Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism, edited by Rose A. Zimbardo and Neil D. Isaacs (2004).

And finally, for a look at Tolkien’s heroes as compared to some more modern figures, try Return of the Heroes: The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Social Conflict by Hal Colebatch (2003). Meg

Mystery & Imagination Bookshop, Glendale, California

Catching up….

Andrew Lazo talks; Will Vaus and I listen

Andrew Lazo talks; Will Vaus and Diana Glyer listen

Josh Long (wearing glasses) and other notables crowded into the bookshop.

Josh Long, Mike Glyer, Lions, Tigers, and other notables crowded into the bookshop.







Back in October, Will Vaus and I were featured speakers at a book signing at the Mystery and Imagination Bookshop in Glendale, California. Local signings can be particularly energetic, and this event was no exception.

Josh Long, a Tolkien scholar and teacher at a near-by high school, had invited his class to attend the event, and he sweetened the deal by offering extra credit to his students if they came in Narnia costume. There is nothing quite like talking about C. S. Lewis with Prince Caspian, a White Witch, and a few assorted LIONS in the room!

Other not-so-fictional notables included Stan Mattson of the C. S. Lewis Foundation; Inklings scholar Andrew Lazo; authors Joseph Bentz and Tom Allbaugh; Hugo winner Mike Glyer; and musician Lynn Maudlin. (Lynn took all of the pictures featured in this post).

Will talked about The Professor of Narnia, I talked about The Company They Keep, and then we answered questions from the audience. Our hosts, Malcolm and Christine Bell, were an absolute pleasure to work with. They were well prepared, they communicated freely and frequently, they publicized well, and they provided a bright and spacious venue for a truly great evening. Kudos all around.

Takeaway: Local, special-interest bookshops provide an extremely important service when they connect readers with writers. It’s a great deal of fun, and everybody wins. Ask your local bookshop to provide time and space for authors and fans to connect face to face.


Writers Track at CSLF Conference

Plans are taking shape for the C. S. Lewis Foundation’s Regional Retreat, October 30-November 1, in Navasota Texas. It will be a celebration of creativity and community, and this year for the first time it will feature a two- day writers track.  Watch the website for details:



Camp Allen Retreat in Navasota, Texas


Main Retreat: October 30 – November 1, 2009
Children’s Track: October 30 – November 1, 2009
Writer’s Workshop: October 29 – November 1, 2009


Featured Speaker: Dr. Diana Glyer, Professor of English, Azusa Pacific University, Author of The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis & the Inklings

: Rev. Skip Ryan, Dallas, Texas                 Rev. Scott Irwin, Austin, Texas                

: Ad Deum Dance Company, Houston, Texas

Breakout Session Leaders
: Andrew Lazo, Don Wood, Joy Jordan Lake

Writer’s Workshop Leader
: Joy Jordan Lake, Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee


“The Company We Keep: Creativity & Community
with C.S. Lewis & the Inklings”
What to Expect:

Engaging lectures on C.S. Lewis, the Inklings, Christianity, and creativity.

Special Writers Track

Small group sessions on conference themes

Panel Discussion with leading Christian thinkers

Worship and fellowship with friends old and new

Children’s Track: Sailing the Dawn Treader (ages 7-12)

Bag End Cafe: after hours music and readings by speakers and conferees

Opportunities for recreation at the retreat center, including horseback riding, nature walking, skeet shooting, and canoeing.


I am using the typewriter theme from my book to develop my brand. I like QWERTY  as a blog title–  suggests typing/writing, suggests community and working together, suggests old school, suggests lots of graphic potential, and besides, it’s a seriously cool sounding word.