Justin Wiggins is a young author from North Carolina whose work has touched many, including Douglas Gresham, step-son of the fabled C. S. Lewis, as you can see in the video below.
This new book Surprised by Myth, a collaboration between Justin Wiggins and Grant Hudson, is a remarkable piece of work. It stands apart from most other works of its kind, if indeed there are any, in that both Justin and Grant each take their own viewpoint about the complex writings and attitudes of my Stepfather C. S. Lewis, and write their feelings and ideas about the work and indeed the man himself accordingly. To our benefit, this results in all of us being able to see differing angles on Lewis’s ways of writing, and why both these two men (and anyone else) can read his works from very different background ideologies.
These two writers demonstrate (although they may not have meant to) that the writings of C. S. Lewis spread a broad variable (and valuable) depth of knowledge in his books that is almost instantly understood by anyone who reads this book of their carefully studied works. There is deep value in this, as you will find, when you read Surprised by Myth.
Douglas Gresham, step-son of C. S. Lewis and author of Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis.
Bringing together both spirit and matter as they are meant to be, Wiggins and Hudson offer wisdom and clarity through these broad-ranging essays. With an insider’s eye, and as lovers of myth, these authors bring us ever closer to the heart and mind of the Inklings. A do not miss for anyone who reads Lewis, Tolkien and the Inklings.
Patti Callahan, NYT bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
The delight of reading this book is that it takes you into a world of discovery from two literary explorers, Grant P. Hudson and Justin Wiggins, who vibrantly merge their insights. Their vision is heightened in living through the grim new normal of the global grip of Covid in the last two years. Their vision freshly discovers the power of myth, fantasy and imaginative thought as an active dimension of rediscovered truth and hope. The reader is caught up in their shared vision, drawn from a well-chosen selection of the Inklings, and others.
Colin Duriez, author of The Oxford Inklings: Lewis, Tolkien and Their Circle
Surprised by Myth, co-authored by Justin Wiggins and Grant Hudson, is a fascinating collection of personal essays focused upon C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and other Inklings related writers and friends. Each essay delves into how either Wiggins or Hudson has been profoundly influenced by the mythopoeic writings they consider. There is a fresh, honest candor in their approach, and each is deeply thankful for how their lives have been enriched through their encounters with myth, truth, and the One who is beyond all time. Readers will find much to enjoy and much to muse upon later. In their own modest ways, Wiggins and Hudson invite readers to go “further up and further in!”
Don King, C.S.Lewis scholar & Professor of Literature at Montreat College, author of Yet One More Spring A Critical Study of Joy Davidman.
Reading these essays is like participating in scintillating conversations that you’ll want to experience again and again. To stimulate the conversations, the authors pose thought-provoking ideas mined from the literary genius of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and their circle of friends. These well-crafted essays not only offer a cornucopia of new perspectives and insights, but also enhance the meaning and understanding of classic myths, stories, and advice from some of the 20th century’s most celebrated authors.
Steven A. Beebe, Ph.D. Regents’ and University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Texas State University, author of C. S. Lewis and the Craft of Communication
Surprised by Myth is a rich and varied offering from Messers Wiggins and Hudson. Their delight in the Inklings is clear, their knowledge deep, and (especially pleasing, this) they have widened the circle of their appeal to include Sayers, Chesterton, and the "father of the Inklings" himself, my countryman George MacDonald.
David Jack, translator of Scots to English George MacDonald novels
When we consider art and reality and how they relate to one another, we might ask what is true, what is truest. In the finite world, however, the better question might be to ask what is it art and reality reveal to us. In a delightful blend of personal and academic essays, Wiggins and Hudson explore those very questions as they discuss the universal and personal influence of myth.
Christine Norvell, author of Till We Have Faces: A Reading Companion
Imagine taking two friends out to lunch who are experts on Lewis and Tolkien? How much do you think it would cost you? For much less than the price of a meal with Justin Wiggins and Grant Hudson, you can read about their insights into Lewis and Tolkien and a lot more in Surprised by Myth. Justin and Grant provide "bite-size" thoughts in the form of short essays with a couple of rich desserts (in the form of two character studies) that will leave you satisfied and hungry for another meal with them.
William O’Flaherty creator of EssentialCSLewis.com, author of The Misquotable C. S. Lewis and C.S. Lewis Goes to Hell.
Personal accounts, including stories of redemption, make this new, insightful book a winner and a great tribute to C. S. Lewis and his dear friends. Surprised by Myth is a fine addition to the bookshelf of deep thinkers, literature lovers, and persons of faith.
Carolyn Curtis, author of Women and C.S. Lewis: What His Life and Literature Reveal for Today’s Culture.
AVAILABLE NOW - the best-selling Surprised by Agape
Surprised by Agape by Justin Wiggins
In Surprised by Agape, Justin Wiggins relates a personal story of redemption, but one in which he seeks to engage the reader by touching on universal themes. His own lifeline in his darkest days - the threefold cord of Lewis and MacDonald's writings, and the music of Switchfoot - is shared as an example of the potent forces of creative art, given to us by the Creator himself, and capable of leading us back, in MacDonald's words, to the 'home of His heart’.
- David Jack, translator of the Scots/English novels of George MacDonald
Surprised by Agape is the author’s candid memoir of healing and personal growth while studying the life and writings of C.S. Lewis.
- Carolyn Curtis, Women and C.S. Lewis (Lion Hudson, Oxford).
Surprised by Agape is the story of Justin Wiggins’ dark night of the soul. The book traces his journey from cultural Christianity through agnosticism to atheism and then to a redeeming faith in Christ. It is a loving testimony to roles that George MacDonald and C. S. Lewis played in Wiggins’ life, and especially the books that led him out of the darkness and into the light.
- Don King, C. S. Lewis scholar and Professor of Literature at Montreat College in North Carolina.
'Through the works and person of C. S. Lewis, Wiggins depicts a parallel of self-discovery. No angst or self-pity here. He describes coming to Christ much like Lewis did, asking “Why do we accept how we are raised? How do we know truth for ourselves in this world we live in?” In a wholly personable style, Wiggins writes, “Well, those spectacles cracked when I started to ask questions and discovered that I had no idea why I believed what I believed.”
But this is more than a spiritual memoir. He explores the influence of music, friendship, and the works of Lewis like Perelandra, A Grief Observed, and The Four Loves among others, but more importantly, Wiggins traces not just pain, but the first recognitions of joy and healing in his own life. Lewis lovers will enjoy how he collates the works that influenced him, along with the commentary and analyses that tell the story of his young life so far.'
- Christine Norvell