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Tolkien Society Annual Guest Speaker – Nick Groom
Nick Groom – © Chris Chapman 2018

The Tolkien Society’s Annual Dinner Guest Speaker will speaking on the evening of Saturday 9th April at our event in Exeter which will simultaneously be livestreamed.

We’re pleased to announce Nick Groom as our annual Guest of Honour.

Usually our Guest follows the post-AGM Annual Dinner, and is one of the most prestigious positions within the Tolkien Society’s annual calendar. Our Guests of Honour always do a talk, Q&A session, or, as is often the case with artists, a presentation. Previous guests include Brian Sibley, Priscilla Tolkien, John Garth, Alan Lee, Dimitra Fimi, Tom Shippey and Humphrey Carpenter. The format and the topic is of the speaker’s choosing, but our desire is to share some aspect of current thinking on Tolkien.

For many years Nick Groom taught the only UK undergraduate course on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and he has published a number of influential papers in the field. Beyond that, he is primarily known for his work on cultural environmentalism and on the Gothic – the latter earning him the sobriquet of the ‘Prof of Goth’ in the media. His environmental writing includes the book The Seasons: A Celebration of the English Year (Atlantic, 2013), runner-up for the BBC Countryfile Book of the Year, and essays such as the acclaimed ‘“Let’s discuss over country supper soon”: Rural Realities and Rustic Representations’ – described by the TLS as ‘brilliant’.

His extensive work on the Gothic has helped to redefine the field through books including The Gothic: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012); editions of The Castle of Otranto, The Monk, The Italian, and Frankenstein (all OUP, 2014-19); and The Vampire: A New History (Yale University Press, 2020 – described by the New Yorker as ‘colossally smart’ and currently translated into Italian and Spanish). He has also written an acclaimed book on the history of The Union Jack (Atlantic, 2nd edn 2017), which gained him a role as advisor to the UK Parliamentary Flags and Heraldry Committee. Nick Groom is currently Professor of Literature in English at the University of Macau, having previously held positions at the universities of Bristol, Chicago, Stanford, and Exeter – at the last of which he holds an Honorary Professorship. His next book will be on Tolkien and is due to be published in September.

About the Author: Shaun Gunner
Shaun is the Chair of The Tolkien Society. First elected in 2013, Shaun has overseen the Society's expansion from 600 to 3,500 members. Shaun regularly speaks about adaptations of Tolkien's works and the future of Tolkien scholarship whilst passionately believing the Society needs to reach out to new audiences. In his spare time he can be found playing video games and Lego, or on Twitter. He chaired another charity, Mankind, and is a local councillor.