Here you can find a few further details about my academic work and writing.


Ph.D., English. University of Massachusetts Amherst. 2001.

M.A., Christian Apologetics. Biola University. 2011.

M.A., English. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1997.

B.A., English. University of Massachusetts Amherst. 1995.

Research interests

J.R.R. Tolkien; C.S. Lewis; literary and imaginative apologetics; fantasy literature.


Cardinal Francis George Professor of Faith and Culture, Word on Fire Institute. 2020-present.

Visiting Professor of Apologetics, Houston Christian University [formerly Houston Baptist University]. 2020-present.



Tolkien’s Faith: A Spiritual Biography. Word on Fire Academic, 2023.

Editor, As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Selected and Annotated Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Word on Fire Institute, 2023.

Tales of Faith: A Guide to Sharing the Gospel through Literature. Word on Fire Institute, 2022.

Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages. Word on Fire Academic, 2021.

Awarded the 2022 Mythopoeic Society Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies.

Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith. Emmaus Road Publishing, 2017.

Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms. Revised 2nd edition. Ignatius Press, 2014.


“The Feminine Intellect and Academia.” In With All Her Mind:A Call to the Intellectual Life, ed. Rachel Bulman. Word on Fire, 2022.

“Imaginative Apologetics,” in The New Apologetics, ed. Matt Nelson. Word on Fire, 2022.

Introduction to Philippians. In Word on Fire Bible Vol. II. Park Ridge, IL: Word on Fire, 2022.

Preface to Philosophy of Religion and Art, ed. Gregory E. Trickett and John R. Gilhooly. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2021.

“Becoming Pivotal Players Today.” Afterword to The Pivotal Players: 12 Heroes Who Shaped the Church and Changed the World, by Robert Barron. Park Ridge, IL: Word on Fire, 2020.

“Recovering a Vision of the Cosmos: Tolkien’s Creation Narrative.” In The Story of the Cosmos: How the Heavens Declare the Glory of God, ed. Daniel Ray and Paul M. Gould. Harvest House, forthcoming 2019.

“Medieval Arthurian Sources for the Inklings: An Overview.” In The Inklings and King Arthur: J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and Owen Barfield on the Matter of Britain. Ed. Sørina Higgins. Apocryphile Press, 2018. The Inklings and King Arthur received the 2018 Mythopoeic Society award for Scholarship in Inklings Studies.

“Further Up and Further In: My Journey Home.” In From Atheism to Catholicism: Nine Converts Explain Their Journey Home, ed. Brandon McGinley. EWTN Publishing, 2017.

“Looking ‘Along’ the Problem of Evil: Shakespeare’s Macbeth.” In Evil and a Selection of its Theological Problems. Ed. Benjamin Arbour and John R. Gilhooly. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017.

“Stonecrop: Lewis Takes His Place in Poets’ Corner.” In C.S. Lewis at Poets’ Corner. Ed. Michael Ward and Peter S. Williams. Cascade, 2016.

“Come and See: The Value of Storytelling for Apologetics.” In A New Kind of Apologist. Ed. Sean McDowell. Harvest House, 2016.

“C.S. Lewis on Love and Sex.” In C.S. Lewis and Women. Ed. Carolyn Curtis and Mary Key. Lion Hudson, 2015.

“Williams, Descent into Hell.” In C.S. Lewis’s List: The Ten Books that Influenced Him Most. Ed. David Werther. Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

“Guy Gavriel Kay.” Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 251: Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. 2002.


Articles and book reviews (selected):

“Hobbits and Empire: Geography and the Life of Nations in Tolkien’s Writings.” Mere Orthodoxy. July, 2022.

“Tolkien on Death and the Desire for Deathlessness.” Evangelization & Culture: The Journal of the Word on Fire Institute. Spring 2022.

 “Brilliant Smash and Glitter: Tolkien’s Reading of Chesterton.” Gilbert! The Magazine of the American Chesterton Society. Vol. 24, Number 4: March/April 2021.

Fantasies of Time and Death: Dunsany, Eddison, Tolkien, Anna Vaninskaya. Journal of Inklings Studies, Volume 10, issue 2, Winter 2020.

Mapping Apologetics: Comparing Contemporary Approaches, Brian K. Morley. Christian Scholar’s Review, 45, no. 4. Summer 2016.

Charles Williams: The Third Inkling, Grevel Lindop. Lead review in symposium. The Journal of Inklings Studies, Spring 2016.

The Intellectual World of C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath. Religion & Literature (University of Notre Dame). Vol. 47.1, Spring 2016.

C.S. Lewis and His Circle, ed. Roger White, Judith Wolfe, and Brendan N. Wolfe Catholic World Report, August 29, 2015. 

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski. Catholic World Report, July 22, 2015.

“Charles Williams and Fantastic Fiction.” Sewanee Theological Review, Summer 2014.

The Ideal of Kingship in the Writings of Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien by Christopher Scarf. Sehnsucht: The C.S. Lewis Journal. Vol. 7, 2014.

C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra: Reshaping the Image of the Cosmos. Ed. Judith Wolfe and Brendan Wolfe. Mythlore: The Journal of the Mythopoeic Society 124, Spring/Summer 2014.

“Further Up and Further In: Representations of Heaven in Tolkien and Lewis.” Journal of Inklings Studies, Vol. 3 no. 1, April 2013.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur. Ed. Christopher Tolkien. The Englewood Review of Books. Featured Reviews Volume 6, November 2013.

Plain to the Inward Eye: Selected Essays on C.S. Lewis by Don W. King. Mythlore: The Journal of the Mythopoeic Society. Fall 2013.

Imaginative Apologetics, ed. Andrew Davison. Themelios: An International Journal for Students of Theological and Religious Studies. Spring 2013.

C.S. Lewis and the Middle Ages by Robert Boenig. Mythlore: The Journal of the Mythopoeic Society. Spring/Summer 2013.

The Loss and the Silence: Aspects of Modernism in the Works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams by Margaret Hiley. Mythlore: The Journal of the Mythopoeic Society. 119/120, Fall/Winter 2012.

Mythopoeic Narnia: Memory, Metaphor, and Metamorphosis in The Chronicles of Narnia by Salwa Khoddam. Mythlore: The Journal of the Mythopoeic Society. 117/118, Spring/Summer 2012.

“What Has Poetry to Do with Apologetics? T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Journey of the Magi’ for the Apologist.” Christian Research Journal. Vol. 34 no. 6. Winter 2011.

Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion by Douglas Charles Kane. Mythprint, the monthly bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society. Volume 48:11, no. 352. November 2011.

“Teaching Process, Not Product: Two Techniques.” inside english: Journal of the English Council of California Two-Year Colleges. 2006.


Lectures and addresses (selected):

“Lewis and Tolkien’s Ecumenical Friendship and Mutual Influence”: The C.S. Lewis Lecture, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, March, 2023.

“Lewis or Tolkien? A Balloon Debate”: debate with Fr. Michael Ward at the Oxford CS Lewis Society, Feb. 21, 2023.

“Iron Sharpening Iron: Tolkien and Lewis’s Ecumenical Friendship and Mutual Influence,” lecture at the Oxford University C.S. Lewis Society, Feb. 14, 2023.

“Tolkien, Lewis, and Evangelization”: panel discussion with Fr. Michael Ward, at the Catholic Voices UK / WOFI conference, London, UK, Feb. 11, 2023.

“Tolkien’s Faith and the Foundations of Middle-earth,” lecture for the exhibition J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript, Marquette University, Wisconsin, October, 2023.

“St. Philip Neri and Middle-earth: The Oratorian Influence on Tolkien’s Life and Work.” Oxford University C.S. Lewis Society, March 1, 2022.

“Tolkien and the Christian Imagination.” Plenary lecture, Hillsdale College, Center for Constructive Alternatives. Feb. 1, 2022.

“From Desolation to Doxology: Why We Need Lament to Have Right Praise.” Plenary lecture, C.S. Lewis Foundation Retreat, Camp Allen, TX, Dec. 4, 2021.

“The Literary Imagination and Evangelization.” Good News Conference, Orlando, FL. Nov. 6, 2021.

“Tolkien and the Modern World.” Dallas Baptist University, Honors College. Oct. 22, 2021.

Panel discussion on apologetics, Lanier Theological Library, Houston, TX. Oct. 15, 2021.

“The Mystical Face of Fairy-stories: Tolkien, George MacDonald, and the Use of Allegory in Fantasy.”

Tree of Tales conference, Rimini, Italy. August, 2021.

Weeklong class on Tolkien’s Modern Reading, Houston Baptist University, MA in Apologetics. June, 2021.

“Imaginative Apologetics and the World of J.R.R. Tolkien.” Plenary lecture, Providence College Humanities Forum, Providence, RI. April 16, 2021.

“Author Chat and Q&A: Tolkien’s Modern Reading.” Signum University, April 7, 2021.

“Tolkien and the Catholic Imagination.” Toronto Newman Center, Faith & Reason series. March, 2021.

“Tolkien’s Modern Reading” US book launch. The Marion E. Wade Center. Feb. 25, 2021.

“Tolkien’s Modern Reading.” UK book launch. Oxford C.S. Lewis Society, January 19, 2021.

“Tolkien’s Modern Reading.” Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts (ITIA), University of St Andrews, Scotland. Feb. 7, 2020.

“Lewis v. Tolkien: Battle of the Literary Masters” – Joint event with Michael Ward – Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center , Cuyahoga Community College, Highland Hills, OH. October 10, 2019.

C.S. Lewis and Friends Lectures, Memphis Theological Seminary, Memphis, TN. March 19-20, 2019.

“Inside Tolkien.” The Sheen Center co-hosted with the “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth” exhibit, Morgan Library and Museum, New York City, NY. February 12, 2019.

“Tolkien’s Modern Sources: Dunsany, Shorthouse, and a Mythology for England.” Oxford C.S. Lewis Society, Oxford, England. January 29, 2019.

Francis A. Schaeffer Institute Special Lectures, Covenant Theological Seminary, St.Louis, MO. Sept. 21-22, 2018.

“Imaginative Apologetics: What It Is and Why We Need It”: Plenary address, Steubenville Defending the Faith Conference, Franciscan University at Steubenville, July 27, 2018.

“Tolkien and the Function of Fantasy.” C.S. Lewis Institute of Northeast Ohio & Youngstown State University, Youngstow, OH. April 13, 2018.

“Hidden in Plain Sight: Tolkien’s Influences from Children’s Literature and Popular Fiction.” Oxford C.S. Lewis Society, Oxford, England. January 16, 2018.

Plenary: “Tolkien’s Modern Sources: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages”. For “Influences on the Work of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien” (joint event with Michael Ward), sponsored by the C.S. Lewis Sociey and the Tolkien Society of Madison, WI, and the Bradshaw-Knight Foundation. Madison, WI. Sept. 23, 2017.

Plenary: “The Effects of Friendship: The Influence of the Inklings on J.R.R. Tolkien.” Canadian Round Table, Cambridge, England. Sept. 16, 2017.

“Imaginative Apologetics” sessions – C.S. Lewis “Oxbridge” Summer Institute, Oxford, England. July 25-27, 2017.

“Not God’s Type: From Atheism to Catholicism” – Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY. April 4, 2017.

“Past Watchful Dragons: Imaginative Apologetics and Why We Need It” – Regina Angelorum Academy, Ardmore, PA. Feb. 7, 2017.

The Strauss Lectures, on “Imaginative Apologetics.” Lincoln Christian University, Lincoln, IL. Oct. 4-5, 2016.

“Modern Medievalists: William Morris and J.R.R. Tolkien.” Second Spring Centre for Faith and Culture, Summer School programme on “The Quality of Mercy: English Catholic Culture from Reformation to Revival.” Oxford, England. Aug. 9, 2016

“The Life and Work of Charles Williams.” Inklings Fellowship, Union University, Oxford, England. July 21, 2016.

“Tolkien and the Function of Fantasy”. Auburn University in Oxford, England. July 18, 2016.

“C.S. Lewis as an Integrated Apologist”. The Bible & Beer Consortium, Houston, TX. Feb. 28, 2016.

“Metaphor and Meaning: The Role of Imagination in Communication about Science and Faith”. Reasons to Believe, Houston, Texas, Feb. 13, 2016.

“Tolkien’s Modern Sources: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages.” The Oxford C.S. Lewis Society, Oxford, England. Jan. 19, 2016.

“Tolkien and Modern Fantasy.” Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, MO. Oct. 19, 2015.

“Imaginative Apologetics.” Northwest University, Seattle, WA. Sept. 23, 2015.

“Tolkien and Modern Fantasy.” Regent University, Oxford, England, June 22, 2015.

“J.R.R. Tolkien’s Literary Apologetics.” Reasons Apologetics Conference, The Woodlands, TX. May 2, 2015.

Seminar: “Imaginative Apologetics.” C.S. Lewis Foundation Summer Institute in Oxbridge. Oxford, England. July, 2014.

Plenary address: “Charles Williams and Fantastic Fiction.” The Inklings Fellowship. Oxford, England, August 2013.

Keynote speaker: “‘Mere Christianity’ as a Strategy for Evangelical-Catholic Dialogue.” At the sixteenth annual Christianity in the Academy Conference, held at Union University. March 2013.

Plenary address: “The Influence of Charles Williams’ Descent into Hell on C.S. Lewis” at the conference “The Ten Books that Most Influenced C.S. Lewis,” sponsored by the C.S.Lewis Society of Madison, Wisconsin and the Bradshaw-Knight Foundation, Madison, WI, Oct. 18-20, 2012.

“Imagination in Service to Truth: Literature as a Mode of Apologetics” at the Evangelical Philosophical Society Apologetics Conference, Milwaukee, WI, Nov. 17, 2012.


“Benediction.” In Evangelization & Culture: The Journal of the Word on Fire Institute. Summer 2023.

“A Sudden Goldfinch.” In inScribe: Journal of Creative Writing. Issue 5: February 2023.

“My Childhood’s Future.” In Evangelization & Culture: The Journal of the Word on Fire Institute. Summer 2022.

“A Seven Days’ Journey Through the Heavens.” In Celebrating Planet Narnia: Ten Years in Orbit.

An Unexpected Journal, Advent 2018.

“A Sudden Goldfinch” and “Paradigm Shift: Angelus” in Love, Remember: 40 Poems of Loss, Lament, and Hope, ed. Malcolm Guite. Canterbury Press, 2017.

Six sonnets in Theology, 119.5, Sept/Oct, 2016.

“Maps.” The Word in the Wilderness, ed. Malcolm Guite. Canterbury Press, 2014.

“Broceliande.” Sehnsucht: The C.S. Lewis Journal. Vol. 7, 2014.

“A Twitch upon the Thread.” Windhover: A Journal of Christian Literature. Volume 18, Spring 2014.

“Maps.” Dappled Things: A Quarterly of Ideas, Art, and Faith. Spring 2013

“Light.” Californios Review. Winter 2013.

“Temptation in the Wired Wilderness.” God and Nature. Summer 2012.

Previous Teaching Experience

Houston Christian University [formerly Houston Baptist University], Houston, TX.

2012-2020: Professor of English, Faculty in Dept. of Apologetics; 2014-2020, Program Coordinator, Master of Arts in Apologetics; 2012-2014: Chair, Department of Apologetics.

Courses taught in the MAA: Apologetics Research and Writing; Creative Writing and Apologetics; Ancient Philosophy and Culture; Medieval Culture and Philosophy; Modern and Post-Modern Culture; Advanced Apologetics Writing/Thesis. Designed and developed each of these courses for the MAA program, both residential and online.

Other courses taught: Great Books I, Great Books II (undergraduate courses for the English department)

MiraCosta College. Oceanside, CA. 2005-2012

2010-2012: Professor of Letters

2006-2010: Assistant Professor of Letters.

2005-2006: Associate Professor of Letters

Courses taught: Introduction to Literature; Shakespeare Studies; Composition and Reading; and Composition, Critical Thinking, and Literature.

University of Massachusetts Amherst. 1997-1998.

Instructor, Writing Program. Taught composition, honors composition, and creative writing.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1996-1997.

Instructor, Department of English. Taught composition.