About Jeffrey Overstreet
photo by Matthew Sumi
is the author of four novels
and a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing.”
He is also a magazine editor, a speaker, and a blogger.
That’s the short version.
Here’s the longer version.
In 1996, Jeffrey Overstreet started blogging about
movies, music, literature, faith, and culture.
That blog would eventually become lookingcloser.org.
That same year, he began writing what became the first volume
of his four-book fantasy series The Auralia Thread.
Jeffrey’s blog quickly became a hub for discussion
about the relationship between faith and art,
leading to the publication of his “memoir of dangerous moviegoing”
— Through a Screen Darkly — in 2007,
the same year that Auralia’s Colors was published.
Auralia’s Colors earned the rare honor of two Christy Award nominations, and was recommended by independent booksellers as a BookSense Notable selection upon its release.
Publisher’s Weekly raved, “Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told.” More reviews of Auralia’s Colors, and interviews with Jeffrey about the book are available at AuraliasColors.com.
Through a Screen Darkly earned a “Starred Review” from Publisher’s Weekly. The book is used as a textbook at Seattle Pacific University, Fuller Seminary, Northwestern College, Bryan College, and in other schools and L.A. film programs.
Around the same time, Jeffrey co-founded a non-profit arts group in Seattle called Promontory Artists Association, and created a periodical about faith and art called The Crossing, which featured work by writers like poets Scott Cairns and Luci Shaw, as well as interviews with artists like musician Linford Detweiler of Over the Rhine. The Crossing eventually closed up shop due to the number of activities and endeavors that began in Promontory’s growing community. Promontory eventually became The Artists Guild, which continues in Seattle.
In 2001, Jeffrey began writing “Film Forum,” a weekly column for ChristianityToday.com, comparing and contrasting film reviews in the religious and mainstream press, and examining the nature of dialogue about art in the church and popular culture. The column continued until mid-2007, when he began focusing on full film reviews for Christianity Today’s new film site, ChristianityTodayMovies.com. From 2008-2009, he contributed a monthly column named after his book, “Through a Screen Darkly,” to ChristianityTodayMovies.com.
The second story in The Auralia Thread, Cyndere’s Midnight, arrived in bookstores in September 2008.
Jeffrey reads and writes full-time as a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine.
Jeffrey contributes two articles about film to the Image website every month.
For his writing about movies, he was honored with the 2007 Spiritus Award at the City of the Angels Film Festival. His review of Sophie Scholl: The Final Days won an Evangelical Press Award in 2006.
In 2009, Jeffrey brainstormed a new website called Filmwell with his longtime film-reviewing colleague Michael Leary. Filmwell now features a number of experienced contributors, and has become a site for unpredictable exploration and inquiry related to cinema, especially foreign and independent films. (The tagline reads, “Is this a film blog?”)
Jeffrey’s commentaries and reviews have also been published in magazines like Paste, Risen, Image, Relevant, Books & Culture, and SPU’s Response.
These days, Jeffrey keeps a busy calendar for public speaking about the arts at film festivals, universities, churches, teachers’ conferences, and on radio programs around the U.S.
In the last couple of years, he accepted invitations to speak:
- at a gathering of Seattle’s G.K. Chesterton Society in April 2011;
- at Jubilee in Pittsburgh, February 2011;
- at The Glen Workshop, the arts conference hosted by Image journal in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 2010 and 2011;
- in UCORE classes at Seattle Pacific University;
- at the International Arts Movement (IAM) Encounter 10, in New York City, giving a presentation to artists about the art of storytelling called “How Shall We Then Tell Stories?” (video here);
- at the Spoke Christian Women’s Association in Spokane, Washington;
- in Ede, The Netherlands, on the subject of faith and cinema, to media professionals, educators, and church leaders;
- at King’s High School in Shoreline, Washington, on the subject of moviegoing discernment;
- at the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on the subjects of fairy tales and the Christian imagination, and Christian perspectives on movies;
- at the Trinity Arts Conference at the University of Dallas in Dallas, Texas;
- at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa;
- at the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference in Seattle, Washington;
- at Seattle Pacific University’s Day of Common Learning (two years in a row);
- and elsewhere.
In 2005, Jeffrey’s film reviews were celebrated in a front-page feature of The Seattle Times’ Sunday magazine (Pacific Northwest) (see the archived main page here), and his work has been noted in TIME Magazine.
Born into a family of educators, Jeffrey grew up in Christian education: in Oregon, at Portland Christian Schools; and in Washington, at Seattle Pacific University.
He and his wife Anne, a poet and freelance editor, can be found writing in the coffee shops of Shoreline, WA, or teaching their cats, Mardukas (6) and Zooey (3), to high-five. (You get bonus points if you can explain why they named him “Mardukas.”)