- Mark Atherton (S)
- Martin Barker (F, S)
- Ben Barootes (S)
- Bob Blackham (S)
- Cor Blok (A)
- Chris Bouchard (F)
- Janet Brennan Croft (S)
- Jenny Dolfen (A)
- Colin Duriez (S)
- Maike Dulk (A)
- Anke Eissmann (A)
- Tor Fauskanger (A)
- Dimitra Fimi (S)
- Verlyn Flieger (S)
- John Garth (S)
- Peter Gilliver (S)
- Fellowship of the Green Dragon (P)
- Ronald Hutton (S)
- Jay Johnstone (A)
- Peter Kenny (F, P)
- Ruth Lacon (A, S)
- Chloë Lees (P)
- Kate Madison (F)
- Nancy Martsch (S)
- Cole Matson (F)
- Metheglin (P)
- Ted Nasmith (A)
- Corey Olsen (S)
- Charlie Ross (P)
- Tom Shippey (S)
- Brian Sibley (F, S)
- Tinkerscuss (P)
- Michael Tolkien (T)
- Constance Wagner (S)
- Mark Walker (S)
- Sue Wookey (A)
- Cindy Zudys (P)
Key: Artists and illustrators (A); Film producers, directors, actors and media experts (F); Performers (P); Scholars, authors and academics (S); Tolkien family (T).
Author and poet. Born in 1943, the son of Michael Tolkien (J.R.R. Tolkien’s eldest son) and Joan Griffiths, Michael grew up in the Chilterns, Birmingham, North Yorkshire and Lancashire before reading English Language and Literature at the University of St Andrews and Restoration and 18th Century English Literature at Merton College, Oxford. Following a career as a teacher, he has published four volumes of poetry and will, later this year, be publishing Wish and Rainbow, two books based on Florence Bone’s children’s fantasy novels. At The Return of the Ring he will be talking about his works and how they relate to his grandfather’s On Fairy-Stories before taking questions from the audience.
Comedic performer and star of ‘One Man LOTR’. Following the success of his production ‘One Man Star Wars Trilogy’, Charlie Ross turned to The Lord of the Rings for his next show, a work which he fell in love with as a child. Charlie, a Canadian actor, has toured worldwide with ‘One Man Lord of the Rings’ and will be taking a break from his run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to come down to Loughborough to give an exclusive performance to full attendees of The Return of the Ring.
Tolkien polemic, notable scholar and professor of philology. Author of acclaimed book The Road to Middle-earth and J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century and the editor of Roots and Branches: Selected Papers on Tolkien; he has also appeared in numerous documentaries, including on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy DVDs. Has been the guest speaker at several Tolkien Society Annual Dinners, the most recent being 1991 where his talk was the inspiration for the Digging Potatoes, Growing Trees series of Peter Roe booklets published by the Tolkien Society.
Renowned Tolkien artist. Has illustrated the most-recent edition of The Silmarillion and Robert Foster’s The Complete Guide to Middle-earth as well as an impressive number of Tolkien Calendars including the 1992 Tolkien Centenary one. Ted was the guest speaker at the 2003 Tolkien Society Annual Dinner and a guest at Tolkien 2005.
Re-enactment society. The Fellowship of the Green Dragon (la Compagnie du Dragon Vert) is a French re-enactment society founded in 2006 whose primary aim is to bring the works of J.R.R. Tolkien to life. The perform open-air theatre, sword-fighting, amongst other things, and are frequent attendees at fantasy and historical re-enactment festivals. For The Return of the Ring they are going to be spending the whole weekend with us in their own encampment with their own full schedule.
Dutch Tolkien Artist. Cor Blok graduated with an art teacher’s degree in 1956 and worked as a museum curator, art critic and teacher in various art schools in the Netherlands and at the Universities of Utrecht and Maastricht. From 1996 until his retirement he was Professor of Art History (19th-20th centuries) at Leiden University. Between 1958 and 1962 he produced about 140 paintings inspired by The Lord of the Rings, has published the book A Tolkien Tapestry as well as illustrating The Tolkien Calendar 2011 and The Tolkien Calendar 2012.
Actor and filmmaker. In 2003 Kate founded Actors at Work Productions which ultimately led her to direct, and act in, the critically-acclaimed and widely-publicised fan-film Born of Hope. Born of Hope is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings and tells the story of Aragorn’s parents and grandparents, Arathorn, Gilraen, Arador, Dírhael and Ivorwen. The film was released online in 2009 and was mostly filmed at the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village in Suffolk.
Broadcaster and author. In conjunction with Michael Bakewell adapted The Lord of the Rings for BBC Radio 4’s acclaimed dramatisation. Author of The Lord of the Rings: Official Movie Guide, The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy and The Maps of Tolkien’s Middle-earth (with illustrations by John Howe). Most recently, he wrote the biography of Peter Jackson Peter Jackson: A Film-maker’s Journey. Was the guest speaker at the 2002 Tolkien Society Annual Dinner and a guest at Tolkien 2005.
Specialist in myth studies and comparative mythology; a professor at Maryland University, teacher, author and public speaker. Author of a range of books on myth and Tolkien, including Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World, Question of Time: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Road to Faerie and Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth (co-edited with Carl Hostetter). Recently, she has edited Smith of Wootton Major, Tolkien On Fairy-stories (with Douglas A. Anderson) and is a co-editor of the Tolkien Studies journal. She was a guest at Tolkien 2005.
Anke Eissmann is a professional illustrator and art teacher, whose Tolkien- and fantasy-inspired work has been exhibited at galleries and international Tolkien gatherings. Anke has recently illustrated Beowulf and the Dragon for Walking Tree Publishers. She was Artist Guest of Honor at Tolkien Society’s Tolkien 2005 conference.
Metheglin are Mike Gulston (octave mandola and guitar); Blanche Rowen (darabuka and bowed psaltery); Clare Hines (electro-acoustic Hurdy-Gurdy); and Pete Coleman (English Border pipes). Most of Metheglin’s music is original, composed by Pete and Clare, with a sprinkling of traditional pieces. Lively and lyrical, with its roots in French dance music, you’ll find influences from Bach to Jethro Tull in there somewhere. You could call it ‘Progressive folk’ music - a blend of dance, contemporary and experimental sounds and rhythms. Metheglin hope to bring the sounds of their bizarre, medieval instruments to a wider, modern audience, so be prepared for music unlike anything you’ve ever heard before...
Ben Barootes is a doctoral candidate at McGill University in Montreal. Ben’s MA thesis, which was awarded a 2007 Governor General’s Medal at Acadia University, examined themes of loss and recovery in Tolkien’s legendarium. His doctoral work addresses how fourteenth- and fifteenth-century English poets used the dream vision genre to explore contemporary debates about language. His teaching and research interests include Middle English literature, heroic literature, book history and print culture, nineteenth-century medievalisms, and, of course, Tolkien. Ben will give the Tolkien Society’s inaugural Christine Davidson Memorial Lecture at The Return of the Ring.
Performer and storyteller also known as ‘Agent Green the Dragon Whisperer’. Chloë trained at London’s Central School of Speech & Drama and then studied with the UK’s most respected traditional storytellers. Chloë is passionate about bringing live storytelling into the 21st Century - and back to adult audiences. Fascinated by dragons ever since reading about Smaug in The Hobbit as a girl, Chloë created the stage persona of Agent Green, draconics expert for Dragon Conservation Headquarters (DCHQ). Don’t miss meeting the world’s only (surviving) dragon whisperer here at the conference!
Podcasting professor. A professor at Washington College who teaches courses on Tolkien, Chaucer, Thomas Malory and mediaeval literature he founded The Tolkien Professor website and podcast in the summer of 2009. His lectures come packed with information and are well-regarded by scholars and more casual fans alike. He is President of the Mythgard Institute which provides courses in Tolkien and the Inklings.
German Illustrator. Alongside her job as a teacher of English and Latin, she illustrates books and games (credits include Bernhard Hennen’s Die Elfen, and German fantasy role-playing game Das Schwarze Auge) and holds regular art and painting workshops. She has been drawing scenes and characters from Tolkien’s books since the age of seven, and her love is given to The Silmarillion, from which she had created art excessively for twenty years.
John Garth is the author of Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth, winner of the Mythopoeic Award for Scholarship; he also voiced the HarperCollins audiobook. He has spoken internationally on Tolkien’s war at conferences including Tolkien 2005, at the National Army Museum, and on television, radio, and DVD (including Peter Jackson’s Return of the King). His reviews of books including The Children of Húrin and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún have appeared in the TLS, The Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer, The Evening Standard and elsewhere. He is a contributor to the Routledge J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia and to the upcoming Wiley-Blackwell Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien. A freelance writer, editor and researcher, he lives with wife Jessica and daughter Lorelei.
Author and illstrator. Ruth Lacon has been interested in both art and J.R.R. Tolkien’s works since she was a child and gained a degree in design and illustration from one of the UK’s few specialist courses. Ruth has been a member of the Tolkien Society since 1986, contributing both articles and artwork to the Society’s publications. Since 2006, Ruth’s Tolkien-inspired artwork has been regularly shown and has become widely appreciated, and she has published an artbook, The Art of Ruth Lacon. Ruth has also co-written four books of Tolkien studies with her husband Alex Lewis.
Expert on Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and the Inklings. His publications include The Inklings Handbook (with David Porter), Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Story of their Friendship, and A Field Guide to Narnia. Colin has appeared as a commentator on Tolkien on the Extended DVDs of The Two Towers and The Return of the King and as a commentator on C.S. Lewis on the recent PBS nationwide broadcast On the Question of God (on Lewis and Sigmund Freud) in the USA. He was also interviewed by Joan Bakewell on GMTV about his dual biography of Lewis and Tolkien.
Tinkerscuss are sisters Bryony Holden (vocals, shruti box) and Erin Holden (acoustic guitars, cittern). Playing music of Anglo-Cetic origin; their haunting melodies and bewitching tales whisk the audience away to a world between worlds with their blend of original material based on folklore and interpretations of Heritage songs. Erin’s harp-like fingerstyle guitar or cittern overlaid with Bryony’s rich and resonant vocals combined with their dynamic performance styles make compulsive watching and listening.
Lexicographer and author. Peter is an Associate Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. He has been working on the Dictionary since 1987, and is one of the most experienced members of the team now engaged in the preparation of the OED’s third edition. He is also researching a history of the project, to be published by Oxford University Press, and has published numerous articles and papers on the Dictionary and its contributors, including Tolkien. He is the co-author of The The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary. In April this year he and Robin Darwall-Smith gave a series of joint lectures in the southern United States, under the auspices of the English-Speaking Union, with the title “Not Yet an Inkling: The Early Oxford Years of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien”.
Fan Guest of Honour and editor of Beyond Bree, the journal of American Mensa’s Tolkien Special Interest Group. In 1980, she became the Co-ordinator of Mensa’s Tolkien S.I.G. The first issue of ‘The Tolkien S.I.G. News’ (later ‘Beyond Bree’) was published in March 1981. In the years that followed, Beyond Bree; has grown from its original 6 readers to more than a hundred in the United States and abroad. Nancy has presented papers at Tolkien conferences (including Mythcon, the Tolkien Centenary Conference, and Tolkien 2005), and is the author of Basic Quenya, a primer for Elvish.
Film director. In 2009, after two years of work, Chris released the popular online film-prequel The Hunt for Gollum which has been seen by over 15 million people around the world. The film is set immediately before the events of The Lord of the Rings films and follows Aragorn’s quest to find Gollum somewhere in Mirkwood. When released, it was the fourth-most-watched film in the whole USA, beating many Hollywood blockbuster hits.
Tolkien artist and long-time Tolkien fan. Jay’s Tolkien artpieces are reflective of deciplines of the Byzantine era from fresco and iconography to decorative manuscript; they give the impression of being created in the middle ages by clerics and artisans who were depicting a mythical past. This is the first time the works will be exhibited and Jay will be taking time off from his role as Managing Director/Creative Director of an advertising agency to show his Tolkien-inspired artwork.
Lead actor in The Fellows Hips film. Cole Matson has more than once been cast as a character called “Geeky Guy” – at least this time the character has a name. He is currently working on a PhD in Theology & Theatre at the University of St Andrews, where he occasionally meets up with a group of guys in a pub to read poetry. He is a recent graduate of Oxford University, where he dissertated on C.S. Lewis and art, and lived in Lewis’s house as a Scholar-in-Residence. He is producing the epic fantasy play The World Over at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
Visual artist. Maike is a computer programmer by trade, having studied physics following a childhood desire to become an astronomer, out of a desire to be creative. After she graduated from art school she did a couple of projects and exhibitions, but wasn't keen on the business side of art. Some years later she started to draw and paint again; and this is where Tolkien comes in.
Artist. Tor is from Bergen, on the west coast of Norway and oridingally worked as a sheet-metal worker and welder in the oil industry of Stavanger. As a child he was already interested in drawing, mountains and walking and he became a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien when first reading his works at the age of 19. He is a self-taught artist and his work is notable for its large size; he is especially inspired by dragons, Hobbits, maps, woods and, of course, the characters.
Mark Atherton is Lecturer in English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Teach Yourself Old English/Anglo Saxon and contributed to A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien (forthcoming). He will be launching his new book, There and Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Origins of The Hobbit (published by I.B. Tauris) at The Return of the Ring.
Artist. In 2008 Sue set up Galley Hill Art and has been painting and exhibiting ever since. Most of her work is inspired by symbols, dreams and the mythologies of world cultures. Unsurprisingly, the wonderful mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien managed to muscle its way in and her head is full of Elves and Ents. She uses watercolour and ink in an attempt to bring Middle-earth to life. Sue has exhibited her Tolkien-inspired artwork at the Tolkien Society’s annual Oxonmoot event and at the 2010 Festival in the Shire. Her work frequently appears in Amon Hen/cite> and Mallorn, and was featured in the 2010 and 2011 Heren Istarion calendars.
Academic and researcher. Martin Barker has spent his working life in the academic fields of media and cultural studies, publishing 13 books to date, but he has especially worked in the field of film audiences, and in 2003-4 he led a world project to study the reception of the films of The Lord of the Rings. With just under 25,000 responses to a complex survey, it produced a huge body of knowledge about what ‘fantasy’ means to people in different country and cultural contexts. His analysis was published in Watching The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien’s World Audiences.
Ronald Hutton is Professor of History at Bristol University, and the author of fourteen books and scores of essays on different aspects of history, mostly in Britain but stretching across the globe at times. He is the currently the principal writer on the pagan elements in Tolkien’s work, and the remarkable way in which they are blended in that work with Christianity and folklore.
Author and editor. Janet Brennan Croft is an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma libraries and is the author of War in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien and editor of the essay collections Tolkien on Film and Tolkien and Shakespeare, as well as the journal Mythlore. She is currently editing a book on Lois McMaster Bujold.
Collector and expert. Peter has a diverse repertoire of presentations including informative talks to performances of the humorous and entertaining. A collector of Tolkien memorabilia for more than thirty-five years, Peter is the owner of probably one of the most diverse collections in existence, which includes some rare and most unusual collectibles. As a consequence, he has become a recognised specialist in his field and his knowledge of the subject has been acknowledged by his peers both at home and overseas.
Author and local expert. Bob has written several books in recent years, namely The Roots of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, Tolkien’s Oxford, The Pitkin Guide to Tolkien and, most recently, Tolkien and the Peril of War. He is well-known to Tolkien Society members and attendees of Tolkien 2005 as he provides excellent tours of the various Tolkien sites around Birmingham and Oxford.
Author and lecturer on fantasy literature. Dimitra published Tolkien, Race and Cultural History: From Fairies to Hobbits in 2008, which subsequently won the 2010 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies, and has contributed to Tolkien Studies, J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, Folklore, Silver Leaves, Mallorn and the book Picturing Tolkien: Essays on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy.
Author of Hobbitus Ille, Latin translation of The Hobbit. Mark Walker has taught Latin to adults and children for several years. His published work includes the English translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s The Life of Merlin (Vita Merlini), the historical novel Amida, and three Latin-themed books: Annus Horribilis: Latin for Everyday Life, Annus Mirabilis: More Latin for Everyday Life, and Britannica Latina: 2,000 Years of British Latin. He is also the founder and editor of VATES: The Journal of New Latin Poetry.
Constance G.J. Wagner, a freelance writer, editor, and poet, is the Director of the Writing Program at Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her life-long absorption in works of myth and fantasy is reflected in many of her own current works-in-progress which include: a book-length analysis of Frodo as sacrificial hero in The Lord of the Rings; a novel rooted in Celtic imagery and lore; a collection of writing meditations inspired by goddess mythology; and a poetry chapbook exploring faerie and fantasy motifs.
Storyteller. Cindy has been a storyteller all her life: it’s in the blood as she comes from a long family tradition of storytelling. She firmly believes that even in this age of extreme technology that we are strongly connected to the Earth, our past and the natural world, and all of her stories reflect this connection. She lives in the Lake District with her husband the author Colin Duriez.