Lewis Estate Business and Media Mogul Murdoch

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 75, Winter 1998 The C. S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

When asked recently if he and his brother were included in Lewis’s will, Douglas Gresham answered in C. S. Lewis News “Jack’s will was rather complicated and really nobody’s business but ours.”

One of the readers of C. S. Lewis News is Rt Hon Chris Patten, former Governor of Hong Kong and a Lewis admirer. Patten was recently locked in a major censorship dispute with HarperCollins (publisher of most Lewis books and Gresham’s book). The company commissioned him to write a book about his years in Hong Kong, but Rupert Murdoch, HarperCollins owner, has business interests in China. (See p. 5.) He objected to Patten’s criticisms of the Chinese regime, and at the last minute HarperCollins cancelled the book, allegedly because of poor writing. The March issue of Columbia Journalism Review condemned Murdoch’s London Times for failing to report on this news.

On 6 March HarperCollins issued an apology to Mr Patten, paying him an undisclosed sum for damages. (Another publisher will issue Patten’s book, East And West: The Last Governor of Hong Kong, later in 1998.) Thirteen days later, Murdoch, whose vast media empire includes Fox News, bought the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Since buying control of the Chronicles from the Lewis estate, Murdoch’s publishing arm has sold over 3.6 million copies. And in September 1997 HarperCollins released five handsome new Narnia spinoffs:

Lucy Steps Through the Wardrobe $12.95 Edmund and the White Witch, $12.95 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Deluxe Edition, $24.95 A Book of Narnians, $8.95 The Narnia Journal, $12.95

“The Chronicles of Narnia is a Registered Trademark.”