May 2 - 4, 2024

Cultivating
a Writer's Life

Our Inaugural Writer's Conference

At Glen Eyrie Castle
in Colorado Springs, CO

About

Welcome & Invitation

The C.S. Lewis Foundation and Cultivating Oaks Press are partnering to co-host a remarkable gathering in the magnificent castle of Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs.

This conference offers a unique perspective focusing on the theme of Cultivating a Writer’s Life.

Our speakers and workshop leaders are seasoned writers familiar with the challenges of a writer’s life, particularly as a follower of Christ.

This event will bear signature marks of both the C.S. Lewis Foundation and Cultivating Oaks Press ~ nurtured relationships, rich hospitality, time to pray and be alone, offered in one of the most beautiful settings in the United States.

If you attend one conference this coming year, make it the C.S. Lewis Writer’s Conference!

Speakers

Keynote & Plenaries

Speaker’s topics are listed under their bio. Click the title for a popup with the description.

Jonathan Rogers

Author of The Terrible Speed of Mercy, The Wilderking Trilogy, and The World According to Narnia, Jonathan is the host of The Habit Membership, a vibrant writers community, & the Habit Podcast. Teacher, editor, and writing coach, his weekly blog is a treasure for all practicing writers.

Lancia E. Smith

Founder and Executive Director of Cultivating Oaks Press, and The Cultivating Project, Lancia is the Publisher of Cultivating Magazine. Throughout her career in executive management, Lancia has served organizations and ministries with consulting & advisory support. Her most enduring work is tending and empowering of those called to bear witness to God in the fullness of their lives.

Sally Clarkson

Best-selling author and co-founder of Whole Heart Ministries, Sally is globally known for her mentoring, coaching, and inspirational ministry to moms (and dads) of every age. She is a pioneer in her publishing field, and a veteran of the industry with much to teach about craft and calling.

Steve Laube

President of The Steve Laube Agency, Steve is a literary agent, editor, author, publisher of Enclave Publishing, and President of The Christian Writers Institute. He has worked in multiple facets of the publishing & bookselling industry for 40 years and brings an unparalleled wealth of perspective to Christian writers, publishers, and editors.

Sessions & Classes

Confirmed Facilitators

Facilitator’s topics are listed under their bio. Click the title for a popup with the description.

Brian Brown

Brian is the founder and director of the Anselm Society, a Colorado-based organization dedicated to a renaissance of the Christian imagination. Since receiving his B.A. in political theory from Princeton, Brian has worked for various think tanks and as a strategy consultant with over a hundred organizations in the theology, worldview, and culture space.

Clay Clarkson

Clay is a Christian writer and author of ten books, husband and father of a family of writers, Publisher of Whole Heart Press, director of Whole Heart Ministries, and a book conceiver/designer. He also writes acoustic music for guitar, sonnets for poetic exercise, creative fiction for challenge, and children’s books for pleasure.

Nicole Howe

Nicole is Director of Formational Community with The Cultivating Project and founder and co-director of OneStory. She serves locally as a teaching pastor with The Practice Church, an experimental community dedicated to practicing the way of Jesus together. Nicole holds a Masters in Apologetics from Houston Baptist University and is a wife and mother of four.

Junius Johnson

Junius is the executive director of Junius Johnson Academics, offering innovative classes for both children and adults. An essential member of The Cultivating Project and columnist for Cultivating Magazine, he holds a PhD in Philosophical Theology from Yale University, and is the author of five books, including On Teaching Fairy Stories.

Corey Latta

Corey is a poet, writer, speaker, educator, and most importantly, a father of four.  He holds Master’s Degrees in Religion, English, and Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Literature. A columnist for Cultivating Magazine, he is also the author of C. S. Lewis and the Art of Writing, and the forthcoming Live the Question: Letters on Faith and Art.

Steve Laube

President of The Steve Laube Agency, Steve is a literary agent, editor, author, publisher of Enclave Publishing, and President of The Christian Writers Institute. He has worked in multiple facets of the publishing & bookselling industry for 40 years and brings an unparalleled wealth of perspective to Christian writers, publishers, and editors.

Amy Baik Lee

Amy is a founding member The Cultivating Project, contributing writer and columnist for Cultivating magazine, a literary member and former co-director of the Anselm Society Arts Guild, and the author of This Homeward Ache. A lifelong appreciator of stories, she holds an MA in English literature from the University of Virginia.

Amy Malskeit

Amy holds an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University in England and is a multi-year fellow of The Cultivating Project. A columnist for Cultivating magazine, Amy writes poetry and creative nonfiction exploring questions about God, faith, and the soul.

Jason Smith

Jason serves on the board of An Unexpected Journal, as a strategist for the C.S. Lewis Foundation, and as the senior editor for acquisitions and development at Wootton Major Publishing. He is the pseudonymous author of the much-loved young adult fantasy series Fayborn and reviews every book he reads at www.goodreads.com/mrwootton.

Brian Brown

Brian is the founder and director of the Anselm Society, a Colorado-based organization dedicated to a renaissance of the Christian imagination. Since receiving his B.A. in political theory from Princeton, Brian has worked for various think tanks and as a strategy consultant with over a hundred organizations in the theology, worldview, and culture space.

Clay Clarkson

Clay is a Christian writer and author of ten books, husband and father of a family of writers, Publisher of Whole Heart Press, director of Whole Heart Ministries, and a book conceiver/designer. He also writes acoustic music for guitar, sonnets for poetic exercise, creative fiction for challenge, and children’s books for pleasure.

Nicole Howe

Nicole is Director of Formational Community with The Cultivating Project and founder and co-director of OneStory. She serves locally as a teaching pastor with The Practice Church, an experimental community dedicated to practicing the way of Jesus together. Nicole holds a Masters in Apologetics from Houston Baptist University and is a wife and mother of four.

Junius Johnson

Junius is the executive director of Junius Johnson Academics, offering innovative classes for both children and adults. An essential member of The Cultivating Project and columnist for Cultivating Magazine, he holds a PhD in Philosophical Theology from Yale University, and is the author of five books, including On Teaching Fairy Stories.

Corey Latta

Corey is a poet, writer, speaker, educator, and most importantly, a father of four.  He holds Master’s Degrees in Religion, English, and Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Literature. A columnist for Cultivating Magazine, he is also the author of C. S. Lewis and the Art of Writing, and the forthcoming Live the Question: Letters on Faith and Art.

Steve Laube

President of The Steve Laube Agency, Steve is a literary agent, editor, author, publisher of Enclave Publishing, and President of The Christian Writers Institute. He has worked in multiple facets of the publishing & bookselling industry for 40 years and brings an unparalleled wealth of perspective to Christian writers, publishers, and editors.

Amy Baik Lee

Amy is a founding member The Cultivating Project, contributing writer and columnist for Cultivating magazine, a literary member and former co-director of the Anselm Society Arts Guild, and the author of This Homeward Ache. A lifelong appreciator of stories, she holds an MA in English literature from the University of Virginia.

Amy Malskeit

Amy holds an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University in England and is a multi-year fellow of The Cultivating Project. A columnist for Cultivating magazine, Amy writes poetry and creative nonfiction exploring questions about God, faith, and the soul.

Jason Smith

Jason serves on the board of An Unexpected Journal, as a strategist for the C.S. Lewis Foundation, and as the senior editor for acquisitions and development at Wootton Major Publishing. He is the pseudonymous author of the much-loved young adult fantasy series Fayborn and reviews every book he reads at www.goodreads.com/mrwootton.

Jason Smith

Jason serves on the board of An Unexpected Journal, as a strategist for the C.S. Lewis Foundation, and as the senior editor for acquisitions and development at Wootton Major Publishing. He is the pseudonymous author of the much-loved young adult fantasy series Fayborn and reviews every book he reads at www.goodreads.com/mrwootton.

*See the Schedule for details on these Sessions & Classes.

Venue

About Glen Eyrie

Nestled on 723 breathtaking acres, Glen Eyrie is a place where, for a few sacred moments, guests can set aside their troubles and catch their breath.

Located at the edge of Colorado Springs, it is an extraordinary destination that provides an unforgettable experience enhanced by the natural, historical, and spiritual legacies of the property.

Situated in the serene and secluded Queen’s Canyon, guests feel miles away, though just minutes from the world-renown Garden of the Gods, historic downtown Colorado Springs, and shopping in Old Colorado City. The Colorado Springs Municipal Airport is only 30 minutes away and Denver is an easy, one-hour drive north.

*Description and © images courtesy of Glen Eyrie Castle.

Registration

Available Options

Early Registration

Register by Feb. 29
$ 408
00
USD
  • Save $30 *Must register by Feb. 29
  • 4 Plenary Sessions
  • 10 Workshops *Choose (2) Per Day
  • Lunch included Friday & Saturday
    *Breakfast & dinner not included.

Standard Registration

Register thru April 19
$ 438
00
USD
  • 4 Plenary Sessions
  • 10 Workshops *Choose (2) Per Day
  • Lunch included Friday & Saturday
    *Breakfast & dinner not included.

Cancellations and Refunds:
• Registrations are fully refundable through 2/16/24.
• After 2/16/24, $60 of the registration fee is non-refundable. The remainder is refundable if registration is cancelled by 3/28/24. 
• After 3/28/2024, the fee is non-refundable, but may be transferred to another person who hasn’t already registered.

Lodging:
Registrants are responsible for the costs of their accommodations, separate from the registration fee listed above. 

Photography and Filming Policy: 
By registering for the event, you give your consent to be filmed/photographed during the event for potential use for archival, fundraising, marketing, and promotional productions of Cultivating Oaks Press, LLC., and The C.S. Lewis Foundation. We will request parental consent before we publicly use any photo including a minor.

FAQ

Things to Know

Question 1
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Question 2
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Question 3
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Questions 4
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Question 5
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Question 6
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The Writer and the Infrastructure of Hospitality

Plenary by Jonathan Rogers

Along pilgrimage routes such as the Camino de Santiago, an “infrastructure of hospitality” grew up in the Middle Ages and beyond. Locals built inns, hostels, hospitals, bridges, etc., for the comfort, refreshment, safety, and healing of the pilgrims who passed through their corner of the world. Then they sent the travelers on, entrusting them to the care of inn-keepers, hospitallers, and bridge-builders further down the path. This infrastructure of hospitality provides a helpful way to think about our work as writers: in tending to the little patch of earth that has been entrusted to us, we provide welcome, refreshment, perhaps even healing for the fellow-pilgrims who need what we can give. 

Called to Call: Cultivating a Writer’s Life

Keynote by Lancia E. Smith

Every writer faces self-doubt, pressure, isolation, the requirement to master craft, and the longing to know that your words matter.  The struggle to know in your bones that you are good enough is a real struggle, but not one answered simply by being published. What does it really mean to be a writer and why does it matter? What kind of life are you called to as a writer? What deeper need lies behind that longing to write something important? In this address Lancia E. Smith, names the questions that writers yearn for answers to and with her inimitable style offers a resounding validation to those called to bear a message as a way of life and spurring us on to cultivate a true writer’s life.

Writing My Life: The Story of a Girl Who Wanted to Write

Plenary by Sally Clarkson

From the time I was a young girl, I felt deeply that I wanted to communicate ideas and inspiration to change my world. For the last 60 years, doors have opened in myriad ways to give me opportunities beyond what I could have imagined. My hope is that there will be life and encouragement from my story that will give courage to others who have such dreams.

Imagine If: Renewing a Theology of Wonder

Plenary by Steve Laube

Explore the vast resource of God’s creation to help inspire your own creativity. See how the act of creativity is woven into the fabric of theology.

Writing and the Problem of Christianity

with Brian Brown

Being a Christian and a writer is a tall order—whether we’re struggling with the link between faith and craft, or with crippling habits we’ve unconsciously absorbed from the surrounding culture. In this session, Brian Brown will draw from Dante, Dorothy Sayers, and a decade of working with writers and churches to cast a renewed vision for both your identity and your creative process.

Writing Is a Work of Heart

with Clay Clarkson

Good writing is an art. On the canvas of paper or pixels, it is skillfully and imaginatively using the living lines of language, the mercurial colors of words, and the careful composition of sentences to tell a story that only you can tell. The art of good writing does not happen by accident; it emerges from a heart cultivated with a love for the life of writing. In many ways, good writing is an incarnation in words of the heart of the writer. In this session we will briefly explore four taproots of the serious writer’s life—Character, Creativity, Craft, and Community—to discover how writing as a work of heart becomes the writer’s work of art.

Practicing Presence: Cultivating a Writing Community

with Nicole Howe

We were not meant to write alone. As deep calls unto deep, our souls are formed by and for connection with others, and the same is true of our writing. As we work to cultivate our craft, God is deep at work making a masterpiece of us. And both are worked out in relationship. In this session, we will explore some foundational practices for cultivating intimate community such as building safety and connection, how to give and receive feedback, and naming some common barriers we all face in forming true and lasting connection – all so we might spur one another on to do the good works He has planned for us long ago.

The Overflow of Your Heart: Dredging the Wellspring of Wonder

with Junius Johnson

Just as it is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth sings, so it is by the overflow of the heart’s joy that the soul sings. And if we, as writers, wish to inspire our readers to sing, or if we wish to fill their hearts with wonder, we must begin with the wonder that is in our own souls. In this session, author and educator, Junius Johnson, offers a guided discussion aimed at exploring our blockages and dry spots as writers then looks at the practices and principles that help us keep our own wonder tanks filled. This interactive class will prepare you to take command of your daily and weekly routines and more consistently find your own place of inspiration.”

Writing for a Wild God: How Lewis Shows Us How to Write About Big Ideas in Clear Prose

with Corey Latta

There is a certain wildness in the way Lewis dared to depict big themes, but never at the expense of effective prose.  Drawing from his fiction and literary essays, we will discuss how C. S. Lewis expressed bold ideas about God, life, love, and the imagination in clear and moving prose.  We will discuss just how Lewis was able to communicate abstract ideas through concrete language as well as engage in experiential exercises to embody practical writing tips.

10 K's of a Good Book

with Steve Laube

Tackle the core elements that make up every successful book project. 

Writing to Immortals

with Amy Baik Lee

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses,” C.S. Lewis noted in his address “The Weight of Glory.” The people we live among and meet have the potential to be “immortal horrors or everlasting splendors,” and “all day long we are . . . helping each other to one or other of these destinations.”

What happens when writers regard their readers with this perspective? How do our correspondence, prayers, and approach to our vocation change when we become aware that we are writing to immortals? Drawing from the anecdotes, biographies, and letters of Lewis and other authors, we will consider what it means to cultivate a servant-hearted view of eternity in the writing life. 

Writing With God: How the Psalms Invite Us To Be More Fully Human

with Amy Malskeit

Some Christian and mainstream cultures promote an emotional prosperity gospel that stifles a broad swath of human experience. In this session, poet Amy Malskeit will lead us in discovering an invitation and a practice rooted in the Psalms, to befriend the fullness of our human experience in God’s presence. Drawing from poets such as Levertov, L’Engle and Oliver, we will write in concert with Psalms that will help us orient ourselves in The Story, finding ourselves invited to cultivate our own humanity, and as we write, invite others to do the same.

Publishing and Its Perfect Result

with Jason Smith

What is the aim of our writing? Why aren’t we content to let writing be a private hobby, and what, exactly, do we expect it to be instead?

When we begin to act on that persistent inner prompting to write, we often have some end in mind. Notions of publishing deals, bestseller lists, speaking tours, literary awards, high-profile interviews, or film options jostle for our imaginative attention and distract from the project beneath our pen. These phantasms creep round the edges of our mental landscape, taunting and troubling us with ill-defined dreams.

But who taught us to want these things? What does attaining them look like? What effect does chasing them, even in daydreams, have on our writing, and more importantly, on us as writers?

In this session, we’ll take a sober look at the writing-industrial complex and at ourselves to become “wise as serpents and innocent as doves,” seeking the inner renewal and transformation that will ennoble us to act as prophets and priests, baptizers and redeemers, heralds and ambassadors in the world of professional writing.