The Inklings …

The Inklings

The Inklings was an Oxford writers’ group which included C. S. Lewis, Roger Lancelyn Green and J. R. R. Tolkien. From late 1933, they met on Thursday evenings at Lewis’s college rooms at Magdalen, where they would read and discuss various material, including their unfinished manuscripts. Tolkien would discuss his ideas for Lord of the Rings.These meetings were accompanied with more informal lunchtime gatherings at various Oxford pubs which coalesced into a regular meeting held on Mondays or Tuesday lunchtimes at The Eagle and Child, in a private lounge at the back of the pub known as the ‘Rabbit Room’.

The formal meetings ended in October 1949 when interest in the readings finally petered out, but the meetings at the Eagle and Child continued, and it was at one of those meetings in June 1950 that C.S. Lewis distributed the proofs for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The Rabbit Room

The membership of the Inklings changed over the years. Tolkien, for example, drifted away from the meetings in the late 1950s. But Lewis, who had lived around Oxford since 1921, was a central figure until his death in 1963.

If we can’t stamp out literature …

If we can’t stamp out literature …

A wonderful quote from Vile Bodies (1930) by Evelyn Waugh

A copy of Dante’s Purgatorio excited his especial disgust.

“French, eh?” he said. “I guessed as much, and pretty dirty too, I shouldn’t wonder. Now just you wait while I look up these here books”—how he said it!—”in my list. Particularly against books the Home Secretary is. If we can’t stamp out literature in the country, we can at least stop its being brought in from outside.”


Where The Magic Happens

Secret Diary Of PorterGirl

Top crime writer Don Massenzio is currently hosting a series about where writers weave their yarns and construct their chronicles and has kindly asked me to throw my hat in the ring (not literally, hats should be handled with the utmost of care) and share my little writerly space.


I mostly write here, in my bedroom. It’s a large, airy space with the added bonus of having my bed nearby in case I fancy a bit of a snooze halfway through. This is my desk – nothing special, but with enough room for my laptop and notes and, of course, my favourite mug for the endless cups of tea that are essential to the creative process. There are a few special things there too, beloved photographs and my little box of treasured things.

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On the left is a picture of me and dearest Mumsie, an endlessly tolerant and…

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The Decline and Fall of Evelyn Waugh

The Decline and Fall of Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) was an English writer of novels, biographies and travel books. His most famous works include the early satires Decline and Fall (1928) and A Handful of Dust (1934), the novel Brideshead Revisited (1945) and the Second World War trilogy Sword of Honour (1952–61). Waugh is recognised as one of the great prose stylists of the English language in the 20th century.

The son of a publisher, Waugh was educated at Lancing College and then at Hertford College, Oxford, and briefly worked as a schoolmaster before he became a full-time writer. As a young man, he acquired many fashionable and aristocratic friends, and developed a taste for country house society. In the 1930s, he travelled extensively, often as a special newspaper correspondent in which capacity he reported from Abyssinia at the time of the 1935 Italian invasion. He served in the British armed forces throughout the Second World War (1939–1945), first in the Royal Marines and then in the Royal Horse Guards. He was a perceptive writer who used the experiences and the wide range of people he encountered in his works of fiction, generally to humorous effect.

Decline and Fall – First edition cover

He wrote drafts in ink on lined paper. He wrote quickly as he needed to make time for a hectic social life.

Well, that’s me buggered then!

I should like to …

I should like to …

The Benefits of Handwriting vs. Typing [Infographic]

C.S.Lewis …


C.S. Lewis was a British novelist, poet, academic, literary critic, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. He held academic positions at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He is best known for his works of fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters (1942), . (1950-1956), and The Space Trilogy (1938-1945).

The Kilns

In 1930, C. S. Lewis and his brother Warnie Lewis moved into a house called The Kilns in the village of Risinghurst, Oxford. It was here that he wrote all of his Narnia books and other classics. The house itself was featured in the Narnia books. In 1956, he married American writer Joy Davidman. She died of cancer four years later at the age of 45. This period of his life is the subject of the film Shadowlands.

Lewis’s works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularised on stage, TV, radio, and cinema. 

The following insights into his writing routine come from his autobiography: Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (1955).

“I settled into a routine which has ever since served in my mind as an archetype, 

I would choose always to breakfast at exactly eight and to be at my desk by nine, there to read or write till one. If a cup of good tea or coffee could be brought me about eleven, so much the better.

A step or two out of doors for a pint of beer would not do quite so well; for a man does not want to drink alone and if you meet a friend in the taproom the break is likely to be extended beyond its ten minutes.

At one precisely lunch should be on the table; and by two at the latest I would be on the road. Not, except at rare intervals, with a friend. Walking and talking are two very great pleasures, but it is a mistake to combine them. Our own noise blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world; and talking leads almost inevitably to smoking, and then farewell to nature as far as one of our senses is concerned. The only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared.

The return from the walk, and the arrival of tea, should be exactly coincident, and not later than a quarter past four. Tea should be taken in solitude, …for eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably. Of course not all books are suitable for mealtime reading. It would be a kind of blasphemy to read poetry at table. What one wants is a gossipy, formless book which can be opened anywhere…

At five a man should be at work again, and at it till seven. Then, at the evening meal and after, comes the time for talk, or, failing that, for lighter reading; and unless you are making a night of it with your cronies there is no reason why you should ever be in bed later than eleven.”

C.S. Lewis (1)

C.S. Lewis (2)