The Lewis Legacy-Issue 75, Winter 1998
Doing Business in Ireland: Shades of Scrapo Easley
The C. S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing
January 1, 1998
Although the Lewis literary estate is owned by an investment company incorporated under the laws of Singapore (for tax purposes), and its attorney is reportedly based in Holland, its managing director is a man named Melvin Adams who lives on Church Road in Greystones, a seaside resort in County Wicklow about 20 miles south of Dublin. Telephone 353-1-2875233; fax 353-1-2875236. Greystones is a popular commuter town linked to Dublin by train.
In the words of Adams, "C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd ('Pte') are the owners of the worldwide copyrights and ancillary rights in the works of C. S. Lewis. Curtis Brown and Walter Hooper are engaged by Pte as Literary Agents and Literary Consultant respectively, each helping the company to oversee the publication of the works of C. S. Lewis and the use of material in associated works." Adams also employs Douglas Gresham, who lives about 50 miles away from him in County Carlow. (Ireland is a tax haven for people connected to the arts and entertainment.)
In the words of James O'Fee, editor of the C. S. Lewis News, "I'd guess that Melvin Adams is the most powerful person in the State of Lewisiana, that country whose borders (like those of Belfast) spread so mysteriously across the map."
Some people might accuse the State of Lewisiana of unwarranted imperialism. In 1997 it set up an office to oversee Centenary observances. An American who had set up a website with basic Lewis information (not quotations) mistakenly thought he should ask the Curtis Brown agency for permission. They refused, saying they were "currently discussing the possibility of setting up a dedicated Narnia website in conjunction with Harper Collins." Shortly thereafter, an American producer at work on a documentary about Lewis for PBS contacted the London agency and was told to desist because the estate was interested in a BBC documentary.