Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, on 29 November 1898. His father was Albert James Lewis (1863–1929), a solicitor whose father Richard had come to Ireland from Wales during the mid-19th century. His mother was Florence Augusta Lewis, née Hamilton (1862–1908), known as Flora, the daughter of Thomas Hamilton, a Church of Ireland priest, and great granddaughter of both Bishop Hugh Hamilton and John Staples. He had an elder brother, Warren Hamilton Lewis (known as "Warnie"). He was baptized on 29 January 1899 by his maternal grandfather in St Mark's Church, Bundela.
Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. They both served on the English faculty at Oxford University and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings. According to Lewis's 1955 memoir Surprised by Joy, he was baptized in the Church of Ireland, but fell away from his faith during adolescence. Lewis returned to Anglicanism at the age of 32, owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, and he became an "ordinary layman of the Church of England". Lewis's faith profoundly affected his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.
Lewis wrote more than 30 books which have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularized on stage, TV, radio, and cinema. His philosophical writings are widely cited by Christian apologists from many denominations.
As a boy, Lewis was fascinated with anthropomorphic animals; he fell in love with Beatrix Potter's stories and often wrote and illustrated his own animal stories. He and his brother Warnie created the world of Boxen, inhabited and run by animals. Lewis loved to read; his father's house was filled with books, and he felt that finding a book to read was as easy as walking into a field and "finding a new blade of grass".
In 1956, Lewis married American writer Joy Davidman; she died of cancer four years later at the age of 45. Lewis died on 22 November 1963 from kidney failure, one week before his 65th birthday. In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis was honored with a memorial in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.