Thursday marks 114 years since Narnia author CS Lewis was born. It's been a big couple of weeks for the late author, after it was announced on 22 November that he would posthumously join William Blake and John Keats in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey next year, to mark the 50th anniversary of his death.

Lewis was a prolific writer, thinker and academic way beyond The Narnia Chronicles, which are now Hollywood blockbusters. The author had a fascinating life, mingling with fellow famous authors, contributing controversially to a discourse on religion and race and even surviving one of the bloodiest battles of WW1.

So we decided to celebrate his birthday with a collection of illustrations from Lewis's best-loved children's books, some of whom drawn by the original illustrator, Pauline Baynes, and 11 little-known facts about the author.

If you're a Lewis fan, let us know why in the comments below!

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  • Folio Society Narnia Illustration

    'Aslan', the name of the central Lion character in the Narnia Chronicles, is the Turkish word for 'lion'. Interestingly, Aslan never appeared in the first draft of <em>The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe</em>, even though it was published a year later.

  • C.S. Lewis

    C.S. Lewis kept famous literary company, befriending poet W.B. Yeats and was close friends with J. R. R. Tolkein. Tolkein and Lewis were part of an Oxford literary group called the Inklings, who encouraged the writing of fantasy. Despite this, it is said that The Hobbit author was so critical of <em>The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe</em> that Lewis nearly didn't finish it!

  • Narnia Magician Illustration

    C.S. Lewis's death, on 22 November 1963, went largely unreported as it happened on the same day that American President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and the day that <em>Brave New World</em> author, Aldous Huxley, died.

  • Narnia Folio Society Cover

    Lewis is best known for his seven children's books, The Chronicles of Narnia. However, he also wrote 47 works of non-fiction, 11 of fiction and four poetry collections.

  • Folio Society Narnia Illustration

    C.S. Lewis was the author's real name (he was born Clive Staples Lewis), but was known to friends and family as Jack. However, he published his poetry collections under a pseudonym of Clive Hamilton.

  • Folio Society Narnia Illustration

    C.S. Lewis fought in the Battle Of The Somme, which say over 1 million casualties. He arrived at the front line in the Somme Valley on his 19th birthday, and while he survived unscathed, he was sent home in April 1918 wounded.

  • Folio Society Narnia Illustration

    <em>The Chronicles Of Narnia</em> has sold over 100 million copies in 41 languages. It has also proved inspiration, time and time again, for film, radio, stage and tv interpretations.

  • Folio Society Narnia Edition

    C.S. Lewis first thought of Narnia in 1939, but didn't finish writing the first book, <em>The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe</em>, until a decade later in 1949. Lewis said of the idea for the book, "The <em>Lion</em> all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: 'Let's try to make a story about it."

  • C.S. Lewis

    The name 'Narnia' is a Latin word, referring to a town in ancient Italy called 'Narni'.

  • Narnia Illustration

    The children in the Narnia books, the four siblings of the Pevensie family, are known and loved as Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. However, they started out life in Lewis's manuscript as Ann, Rose, Martin and Peter.

  • Narnia Illustration

    The character of Puddleglum, who appears as a principl character in <em>The Silver Chair</em>, was based on Lewis' gardener, Fred Paxford.