Here is something truly wonderful. Next weekend in Wichita (October 19-21), the Eighth Day Institute is having its annual Inklings Oktoberfest, celebrating the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, and other members of the informal Oxford literary circle that met at the Eagle And Child pub. The great Ralph Wood will deliver a lecture about G.K. Chesterton as “father” of all the Inklings, and Richard Rohlin will conduct a couple of seminars. 

This year’s Inklings festival coincides with the 30th anniversary of Wichita’s Eighth Day Books, which is the best Christian bookstore on the planet — and I’ll fight the man who doubts me! Three years ago, Mark Oppenheimer of The New York Times profiled the bookstore and its founder, Warren Farha.  The piece gives you an idea about why and how this place is so very special, but trust me, there’s no substitute for being there. If you are anywhere within a day’s drive of Wichita, please make every effort to get to Inklings Oktoberfest. And be sure to leave room in your trunk for all the books you will buy. Eighth Day’s selection is phenomenal.

Here’s a delightful aspect of the October event: an Inklings Cartography Contest. Information:

The field is wide open to create maps from any world within the literature of any of the Inklings. That means your creativity is unlimited, i.e., you need not limit yourself to Narnia or Middle-earth, although those worlds are definitely options.

Maps will be judged in four categories, and each category winner will receive an award:

1) Age 7 and below – Inklings Coloring Book

2) Age 8-11 – The Hobbit and $10 Gift Certificate to Eighth Day Books

3) Age 12-18 – Lord of the Rings (boxed set)

4) Age 18+ – $50 Gift Certificate to Eighth Day Books

Other important information:

Maps must be flat (two-dimensional) and no larger than 11×17 inches
Maps must be hand drawn
Maps should be original, creative, and unassisted
Maps may depict any place within the worlds of the Inklings, but should be illustrated; in other words, use pictures
Drop maps off before Oct 21 at Eighth Day Books during normal business hours or have entries brought to Oktoberfest before 4 pm on Oct 21.

Good luck, mapmakers! Here’s a link to the PDF flyer for the entire festival. Partial view here:

 

(Partial view of schedule)