2019 Speakers and activities

The Anointed Imagination: Literature and the Light of Christ

“Christ transformed our imagination by making his dwelling in our memory, so that we could create a symbolic world of language, images, and actions that is harmonious with the world of creation and redemption.”    Father Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis

Come to CHAVAGNES!  Monday 22nd to 26th July 2019.

(Arrive Sunday 21st July; Departures Saturday 27th July 2019.)

Speakers include …

Joseph Pearce, Keynote Speaker

JOSEPH PEARCE is a senior fellow at The Cardinal Newman Society and editor of its journal. He is a senior contributor at The Imaginative Conservative and senior editor at the Augustine Institute. Up until recently, Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee he was previously on the staff of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire,  Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Michigan and at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida. His books include biographical works on C.S. Lewis, Shakespeare, Tolkien, Chesterton, Wilde, Solzhenitsyn and Belloc. He is a visiting professor for the Studium’s Liberal Arts degree launched in September 2018.


Ferdi McDermott, Principal at Chavagnes

Ferdi McDermott is Principal and Founder of Chavagnes International College (www.chavagnes.org) and the Chavagnes Studium. He has authored and edited several books on literary and theological topics and also founded the international Catholic cultural journal, Saint Austin Review (http://staustinreview.org/) in 2000. At previous Chavagnes conferences he has spoken on the life and legacy of St Louis de Montfort, The Virgin Mary in English Letters, Catholic Education and The Sorrowful Mother as a Theme in Culture.  He is also a professor for the Studium’s new Liberal Arts degree launched in September 2018.

Professor Anthony  O’Hear

Anthony O’Hear OBE is a British philosopher. He is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Buckingham and Head of the Department of Education. He is Honorary Director of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and editor of its journal Philosophy. He is also editor emeritus of The Fortnightly Review.  He ran the first Great Books Week at Chavagnes in 2009, and teaches on the Studium’s new Liberal Arts degree launched in September 2018. In 2015 he published, with his daughter Nasaha, Picturing the Apocalypse : The Book of Revelation in the Arts over Two Millennia, which features the great Tapestry of the Apocalypse which we will be going to see in Angers castle.

Dr David Daintree

 David Daintree is a native of Sydney.  His academic background is in Classics.  He taught in secondary schools for a number of years and was Senior Classics Master at St Peter’s College, Adelaide.  David was Principal of Jane Franklin Hall, a college of the University of Tasmania, from 1984 to 2002.   He has been a visiting professor at both the Universities of Siena and Venice, and a visiting fellow at St. John’s College, University of Manitoba, Canada.  From 2002 to 2008 he was Rector of St John’s College in the University of Sydney, and served as President of Campion College, Australia’s only Liberal Arts college, from 2008 to 2012.  In 2013 he became founding Director of the Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies.  In 2017 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. He recently published Soul of the West: Christianity and the Great Tradition.


Fiorella de Maria

Fiorella De Maria was born in Italy of Maltese parents and grew up in Wiltshire, England. She holds two degrees in English Literature from Cambridge University. Fiorella lives in Surrey with her husband, Edmund Nash, and her four children. She won the National Book Prize of Malta (foreign language fiction category) for her debut novel The Cassandra Curse and has since published a widely in both fiction and on-fiction. She recently wrote an AQA-approved text book for Creative Writing and has been running writers’ training workshopsaround the UK. Her latest book, published by Ignatius Press, is The Abolition of Woman: How Radical Feminism Is Betraying Women.


Charles A. Coulombe is a Catholic writer based in Los Angeles and Vienna.  A columnist for the Catholic Herald, his latest book is A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail. He  is the author of a forthcoming biography of Bl. Charles, Emperor of Austria. His internet podcast, Off the Menu, deals with a wide variety of topics involving keeping sane and Catholic in difficult times.