For a short bio, visit the Press Page.
What follows is a longer narrative about the history of this blog and Overstreet’s writing.
In 1996, Jeffrey Overstreet started blogging about movies, music, literature, faith, and culture. That blog would eventually become lookingcloser.org.
That same year, he began writing what became the first volume of his four-book fantasy series The Auralia Thread.
Jeffrey’s blog quickly became a hub for discussion about the relationship between faith and art.
Around the same time, Jeffrey co-founded a non-profit arts group in Seattle called Promontory Artists Association, and created a periodical about faith and art called The Crossing, which featured work by writers like poets Scott Cairns and Luci Shaw, as well as interviews with artists like musician Linford Detweiler of Over the Rhine. The Crossing eventually closed up shop due to the number of activities and endeavors that began in Promontory’s growing community. Promontory eventually became The Artists Guild, which continues in Seattle.
In 2001, Jeffrey began writing “Film Forum,” a weekly column for Christianity Today, comparing and contrasting film reviews in the religious and mainstream press, and examining the nature of dialogue about art in the church and popular culture. The column continued until mid-2007, when he began focusing on full film reviews for a new Christianity Today film-review site, “CT Movies.” From 2008-2009, he contributed a monthly column there named after his book, “Through a Screen Darkly.”
Then he moved on to write film reviews twice monthly for Good Letters, a blog hosted by Image journal. He contributed reviews there from 2008-2013.
For his writing about movies, he was honored with the 2007 Spiritus Award at the City of the Angels Film Festival. His review of Sophie Scholl: The Final Days won an Evangelical Press Award in 2006.
Jeffrey’s commentaries and reviews have also been published in a variety of magazines including Image, Books & Culture, Paste, Relevant, Risen, Comment, and Seattle Pacific University’s quarterly magazine Response (where he works as a contributing editor).
His work at Christianity Today and Looking Closer led to the publication of his “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly — in 2007, the same year that his first novel, Auralia’s Colors, was published.
Through a Screen Darkly earned a “Starred Review” from Publisher’s Weekly. The book is used as a textbook at Seattle Pacific University, Fuller Seminary, Northwestern College, Bryan College, Biola University, and in other schools and L.A. film programs.
Auralia’s Colors earned the rare honor of two Christy Award nominations, and was recommended by independent booksellers as a BookSense Notable selection upon its release.
Publisher’s Weekly raved, “Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told.” More reviews of Auralia’s Colors, and interviews with Jeffrey about the book are available at AuraliasColors.com.
The second story in The Auralia Thread, Cyndere’s Midnight, arrived in bookstores in September 2008; the third, Raven’s Ladder, in February 2010; and finally, The Ale Boy’s Feast, in March 2011.
In 2005, Jeffrey’s film reviews were celebrated in a front-page feature of The Seattle Times’ Sunday magazine (Pacific Northwest) (see the archived main page here), and his work has been noted in TIME Magazine.
In 2009, Jeffrey brainstormed a new website called Filmwell with his longtime film-reviewing colleague Michael Leary. Filmwell now features a number of experienced contributors, and has become a site for unpredictable exploration and inquiry related to cinema, especially foreign and independent films.
Today, Jeffrey is in his twelfth year as a writer and contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine.
He keeps a busy calendar for public speaking about the arts at film festivals, universities, churches, teachers’ conferences, and on radio programs around the U.S.
In 2013, he accepted an invitation to serve as Writer in Residence at Covenant College in Georgia, where he taught Creative Writing (fiction) and spoke in Chapel. (He was later noted as one of the year’s Top 10 Chapel Speakers.)
In April 2014, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries highlighted “helpful Christian resources that consistently navigate the Hollywood landscape with a great deal of perception and clarity,” and Overstreet was the first recommendation on the list: “Overstreet’s reviews are never less than thoughtful, balanced, and fair.”
From May through July 2016, he is teaching an online graduate course — “Film, the Visual Arts, and Apologetics” — for Houston Baptist University.
In the last few years, he accepted invitations to speak or teach:
- at Houston Baptist University, on the occasion of their first annual HBU Writers Conference;
- in Dr. Jeff Keuss’s “Youth and Culture” course at Seattle Pacific University;
- at The Glen Workshop, the arts conference hosted by Image journal in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 2010, 2011, and 2013;
- at the trans(Formation) leadership conference at Bethany Community Church in Seattle;
- at the Nashville arts conference called Hutchmoot;
- at Seattle Pacific University’s Day of Common Learning;
- at the International Arts Movement (IAM) Encounter 11, in New York City, giving a presentation on the redemptive power of play;
- at a gathering of Seattle’s G.K. Chesterton Society in April 2011;
- at Jubilee in Pittsburgh, February 2011;
- in UCORE classes at Seattle Pacific University;
- at the International Arts Movement (IAM) Encounter 10, in New York City, giving a presentation to artists about the art of storytelling called “How Shall We Then Tell Stories?” (video here);
- at the Spoke Christian Women’s Association in Spokane, Washington;
- in Ede, The Netherlands, on the subject of faith and cinema, to media professionals, educators, and church leaders;
- at King’s High School in Shoreline, Washington, on the subject of moviegoing discernment;
- at the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on the subjects of fairy tales and the Christian imagination, and Christian perspectives on movies;
- at the Trinity Arts Conference at the University of Dallas in Dallas, Texas;
- at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa;
- at the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference in Seattle, Washington;
- at Seattle Pacific University’s Day of Common Learning (two years in a row);
- and elsewhere.
Born into a family of educators, Jeffrey grew up in Christian education: in Oregon, at Portland Christian Schools; and in Washington, at Seattle Pacific University.
He and his wife Anne, a poet (Delicate Machinery Suspended, 2011, T.S. Poetry Press) and freelance editor, can be found writing in the coffee shops of Shoreline, WA, or teaching their cats, Mardukas and Zooey, to high-five. (You get bonus points if you can explain why they named him “Mardukas.”)