Public Appearances: Readings and Lectures

RIGHT NOW: I’m teaching an 8-week online graduate course for Houston Baptist University called “Film, the Visual Arts, and Apologetics.”

COMING SOON: In October 2016, I’ll be in Florida speaking at a conference focused on the films of the Coen Brothers.

Chances are I’ll make my way to your neighborhood one of these days, if I haven’t already. And I’d love to meet readers of Looking Closer, Through a Screen Darkly, and The Auralia Thread.

These days, I’ve been delivering presentations on:

  • “A Wild Horse on a Big Screen” – An examination of the artistry of Caroll Ballard’s 1979 film The Black Stallion.
  • “An Ecstasy of Particulars” – What writing The Auralia Thread taught me about attentiveness, loss, and redemption.
  • “Following The Auralia Thread” – Writing fantasy as a spiritual discipline of discovery.
  • “Beyond Blockbusters: Entering the Mind of Contemplative Cinema” – A study of poetry in motion.
  • “Through a Screen Darkly” – Lessons in faith and discernment from a life of dangerous moviegoing.
  • “How to Chew Your Movies” – Lessons from my career as a film reviewer.
  • “Beast and the Beauty” – Learning from traditions of magic, monsters, vampires, superheroes, and robots in storytelling.
  • “The Eagles are Coming!” – Meditations on fairy tales, fantasy, and faith.
  • “We Are Also Five: How to Play Without Ceasing” – Reflections on the sacred and redemptive power of play, improvisation, and ‘wasted time.’

Covenant College speaking in chapelLike a vampire, I can only show up when I’ve been invited. So send a detailed invitation to, and we’ll see what’s possible. If you need more details, let me know.

Here is my current calendar of speaking engagements.

Upcoming Travels, 2016-17

Now accepting invitations for lectures, readings, and teaching.

St. Leo University
(October 2016—details coming.)

Fort Collins, Colorado
Film Festival

(Details coming.)

Past Appearances (Selected)


April 15-16, 2016
A Discussion of the Past, Present, and Future of Christian Film Criticism; 
An Interview on the Influence of Religious Faith on Fantasy Writing; and
Hosting a Screening of Something, Anything and Interviewing Director Paul Harrill
Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing; Grand Rapids, MI


October/November 2015
Three-Day Workshop on Writing About Cinema

Vashon High School; Vashon Island, WA, Fall 2015

October 9-10, 2015
“A Wild Horse on a Big Screen” and “Through a Screen Darkly”
Hutchmoot 2015
Nashville, TN
April 11, 2015
HBU’s First Annual Writers Conference
Houston Baptist University

Encounter 10: Jeffrey Overstreet on the how of storytelling from International Arts Movement on Vimeo.

April 2015
Two Guest Lectures
“Youth Culture and Christian Faith” Class
Seattle Pacific University; Seattle, WA, April 2015


January 2014
“Through a Screen Darkly: Adventures in Dangerous Moviegoing”
trans(Formation), Bethany Community Church, Seattle, WA


Fall Quarter 2013
Creative Writing Instructor, Writer-in-Residence
Covenant College; Lookout Mountain, GA

August 2013
Multi-Disciplinary Arts Interpretation Seminar Instructor

The Glen Workshop, hosted by IMAGE; Santa Fe, NM

Reading at Third Place Books in Seattle.


October 10, 2012
Day of Common Learning
Seattle Pacific University
(Details to be announced.)

September 27-30, 2012
Writer’s Retreat
Laity Lodge, TX
I joined Dr. John Medina (author of Brain Rules), John Wilson (editor of Books and Culture), Julia Kasdorf (poet), Ashley Cleveland and Kenny Greenberg (musicians), and other special guests in this excellent weekend full of inspiration for writers of all kinds. I spoke on storytelling, the rewards of improvisational writing, and the benefits of self-inflicted obstructions.

Saturday, September 1, 2012, 5 p.m.
Wild Goose Festival (Wild Goose West)
Benton County, OR

July 13-15, 2012
Christian Summer Writer’s Conference
Gove Hill Retreat Center, Vermont
I had the privilege of teaching alongside Robert Siegel, a great poet whom I had admired for years, just a few months prior to his passing. I am so grateful for that experience.

February 24, 2012
The Lantern Community Church
Calgary, AB
It was a privilege to accept my first Canadian invitation, and share my “Through a Screen Darkly” lecture with the community at Fire Exit Theater community and The Lantern church.

March 9-11, 2012
The Kindlings WinterFest
Orcas Island, WA
Dr. Lyle Dorsett and I were the keynote speakers, and I presented my talk called “We Are Also Five: How to Play Without Ceasing.”

May 19, 2012
Northwest Christian Writers Renewal
I presented two lectures in one afternoon: “A Box of 64 Crayons: The Redemptive Power of Play” and “Beast and the Beauty: What Fairy Tales and Christ’s Parables Have in Common.”


February 18-20, 2011
Jubilee Conference

I spoke to an audience of about 2,000 (college students, faculty, and guests) in my first visit to this conference. What a rush! I gave three presentations: A short talk about the power of art; a lecture on the revelatory power of “pagan” fairy tales; and a lecture about “dangerous moviegoing.”

March 4-6, 2011
IAM Encounter 11

At this conference on the theme “Be Generative,” I presented a lecture called “I Am Also Five”: sharing a life story about the generative power of play.

March 24, 2011, 7 p.m.
Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park (Seattle)

This excellent independent bookstore hosted the Seattle launch party for The Ale Boy’s Feast! I read from my new novel and reflected on the sixteen years of writing that brought The Auralia Thread to completion.

April 1, 2011
Imago Film Festival
Judson University, Chicago, IL
I spoke in a chapel assembly, and then presented my “Through a Screen Darkly” lecture at an evening event… even though laryngitis made me sound like Christian Bale’s Batman.

April 2, 2011
Reel Spirituality Conference 2011
Fuller Seminary, Los Angeles, CA
Even though I was stricken with the worst laryngitis of my entire lifetime, I joined Elvis Mitchell, Ralph Winter, Robert K. Johnston, Gareth Higgins, Mark Pinsky, Claudia Puig, Justin Chang, and Carolyn Gordon to discuss “The Death of the Critic.” I survived, and had a grand time in spite of my illness.

April 8, 2011
Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA
I spoke about film criticism to high school students in a media communications class, and then presented my “Through a Screen Darkly” lecture to students and parents at an evening event.

April 14, 2011
The Seattle Chesterton Society
, Seattle, WA
March 9-11, 2012
I presented “Beast and the Beauty: A Tradition of Magic and Monsters,” celebrating the ways in which fairy tales, fantasy, and horror stories show us the truth through inspiring and discomforting revelations.

June 23-26, 2011
Laity Lodge Retreat with Rodney Reeves and Jeffrey Overstreet

I spoke about ways in which contemporary cinema can nourish our lives through encounters with the sacred, with beauty, and with mystery.

July 31-August 7, 2011
The Glen Workshop, St. John’s College, Santa Fe, NM

I led a week-long seminar on cinema that exemplifies great art even as it investigates questions about the nature, purpose, and power of art.


January 27, 2010
Spokane College Women’s Association luncheon, Spokane, WA
I spoke about faith, movies, and discernment.

February 8, 2010
The Kindlings Muse, Hale’s Ale’s Pub and Brewery, Seattle, WA

I was invited back for another Kindlings panel discussion with podcast host Dick Staub and film reviewers Greg Wright and Jennifer Spohr. We conversed about this year’s Oscar-nominated films in a program called “Theology of Oscar’s Best Pictures.”

March 4-6, 2010
IAM Encounter, New York, NY
The question that the IAM folks gave me: “How shall we then tell stories?” I spoke about storytelling on the page and on the big screen.

Watch Encounter 10: Jeffrey Overstreet on the how of storytelling from International Arts Movement on Vimeo.

March 11, 2010
St. Leo University, St. Leo, FL
I spoke about movies, page-to-screen adaptations, hero stories, and more.

March 2010
Food for Thought presentation, Seattle Pacific University

I read from Raven’s Ladder and spoke about where The Auralia Thread would be going in the final volume.

March 18, 2010
Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Seattle, WA

I read from Raven’s Ladder, talked about The Auralia Thread, and signed books.

August 1-8, 2010
The Glen Workshop, St. John’s College, Santa Fe, NM

I led a week-long seminar on contemplative cinema. We looked at how the world’s most poetic filmmakers do what they do, and explored different avenues of discussion and personal interpretation.

October 1-3, 2010
Laity Lodge Writer’s Retreat
I offered a lecture called “Parable and Play: How to Write Stories Worth Reading More Than Once,” and I taught a weekend creative writing workshop for fiction writers.