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Call for Papers: Tolkien Society Seminar 2016
The Parkinson building at the University of Leeds

The Tolkien Society Seminar 2016 will be held on Sunday 3rd July at the Hilton Leeds City. We are now calling for papers on the theme of Life, Death, and Immortality in Tolkien’s works.

Call for Papers

To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939 … by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.

The theme of ‘Life, Death, and Immortality’ has been chosen to commemorate 100 years since the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. J.R.R. Tolkien fought in and survived this dreadful battle, but lost his close friend and fellow T.C.B.S. member Rob Gilson. With the death of G.B. Smith later that year, the First World War undoubtedly shaped Tolkien’s outlook on life and death, with mortality and immortality looming large in the Middle-earth legendarium and other writings.

It may be a morbid subject, but the importance of death in Tolkien’s literature should not be ignored or understated. In the 1968 documentary Tolkien in Oxford, Tolkien said that practically all human stories are about the inevitability of death.

The Tolkien Society Seminar provides a friendly environment to present short papers of between 15 and 30 minutes. First-timer speakers are particularly welcome.

Proposals of no more than 250 words should be emailed to Daniel Helen by Friday 25 March 2016.

About the Seminar

A Seminar has been held most summers since 1986. The day-long event consists of a programme of talks from both Tolkien scholars and enthusiasts. Presentations range from the serious to the light-hearted and there is usually something for everyone.

After the success of last year’s event, it will return to the Hilton Hotel in Leeds. Tolkien worked at the University of Leeds between 1920 and 1925, first as a Reader and later Professor of English Language. The date has been chosen to coincide with the start of the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds the following day.


Bookings are now open for delegates. Registration costs £15 for members and £20 for non-members.

About the Author: Daniel Helen
Daniel is an Officer without Portfolio and Trustee of The Tolkien Society. Elected in 2014, he is mainly responsible for the Society's digital operations, including this website.