For those both old and new to the school, it seemed a helpful exercise to discuss some of the history and purpose of the Fiction Festival. (You may also be interested to read Why Fiction?)
The roots of the Fiction Festival germinated in Sean Higgins’ mind a little over four years ago. As a self-avowed (but reformed) Fiction Hater, Sean was musing about a means of growing his own and others’ appreciation for, understanding of, and perhaps creation of Fiction.
He shared his ideas with a number of people in the school’s circle, and the Fiction Festival was born. Its first year and second year saw Douglas Bond as the guest speaker, and topics ranged from basic writing techniques, George Orwell’s 1984 against C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength, the political power of MacBeth, the social influence of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, maturation and literature, and the power of fantasy in combating Modernism and Postmodernism. This year we hope to look at the power of fiction in developing personal character.
The Festival, then, is multi-pronged. It seeks to create a better foundation of critical thinking when applied to Art, Literature, Worldview, and the forceful culture around us that is ardently shaping and crafting to its own ends. It strives to educate and inspire people about the written word, increasing each reader’s appreciation for words, character, setting, plot, and theme – all concepts God invented and continues to craft every day. Finally, it hopes to make this all personal and relevant, employing literature as a means of helping to shape and instill virtue in the people within our community and beyond.
As C.S. Lewis said, “education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.” Literature is a powerful, accessible tool to help instill such values into our world; the Fiction Festival is one means of helping to craft potent sub-creators with a twinkle in their eye and an apt word on their lips. It is also why we have the Children’s Track, to help raise up and welcome in a younger set and make writing and crafting and reading and creating tasty for them, too.