The Tolkien Society Seminar 2018
1 July 2018
Back to events feed Hilton Leeds City, Leeds, UK
Hilton Leeds City, Leeds, UK
Leeds was Tolkien’s home 1920–25. Between 1924 and 1925, Tolkien and his family lived at 2 Darnley Road, West Park, Leeds.

The Tolkien Society Seminar 2018 will be held on Sunday 1 July in Leeds at the Hilton Leeds City.


The theme this year is Tolkien the Pagan? Reading Middle-earth through a Spiritual Lens.

Name Title
Ryan Haeker On the Providential Historicism of Middle-earth
Claudio Testi Pagan Saints in Middle-earth
Sultana Raza Shades of Indian Ideologies in the Fellowship
Putri Prihatini The Names of Turin Turambar and the ‘Spiritual Burden’ Concept in Javanese Naming Philosophy
Brad Eden Tolkien the Buddhist: Reincarnation, Inherited Memory and Theosophy, oh my!
Markus Davidsen Honouring the Valar, Seeking the Elf Within: the Curious History of Tolkien Spirituality and the Religious Affordance of Tolkien’s Literary Mythology
Justin Lewis-Anthony Tolkien’s Mandos. Pratchett’s Death
Nelson Goering Shrouded Shrines and Holy Harrows: a Philological View of (Un)holy Places in Middle-earth
Andrew Higgins ‘But Melko take them!’: why did the Elves think Men Worshipped Melko? An Analysis of ‘Si Qente Feanor’
Brighid Bardsley From Ents to Elbereth: Tolkien’s Trojan Horse of Paganism
Giovani Costabile Also Sprach Feanor, Spirit of Fire: A Nietzschean Reading of Tolkien’s Mythology
Aslı Bülbül Candaş The Nature of Arda: An Artwork as the Embodiment of the Flame Imperishable
Richard Hronek ‘That’s what I’m Tolkien about!’: Tolkien Fandom and the Hermeneutics of the Digital Age
Jessica Yates The Origins of Vingilot

About the Seminar

The Tolkien Society Seminar is a one-day conference of academic of talks and panel discussions on a specific theme. Held most years since 1986, the date and venue used to vary each time, but it is now held in Leeds on the Sunday before the start of the International Medieval Congress (IMC).

This year’s Seminar is a greatly anticipated day of papers exploring spirituality in Tolkien’s universe and reading his work through a variety of religious lenses. Looking beyond Tolkien’s claim that The Lord of the Rings is “a fundamentally religious and Catholic work“, the Seminar will examine how the readers’ spirituality shapes their understanding of Tolkien’s writing and how Tolkien’s fiction shapes their spirituality.

An informal innmoot—a visit to the local pub—will be held on Saturday 30 June from 7pm at the Scarborough Hotel.

Registration opens at 9am on Sunday morning with coffee and pastries. A buffet lunch will be provided at midday. The day will conclude at approximately 5.30pm.

International Medieval Congres

There will be six Tolkien-related sessions at the IMC in 2018:

  • Memory in Tolkien’s Medievalism, I (Monday 2 July, 11:15–12:45)
  • Memory in Tolkien’s Medievalism, II (Monday 2 July, 14:15–15:45)
  • ‘New’ Tolkien: Expanding the Canon (Monday 2 July, 16:30–18:00)
  • Tolkien: Medieval Roots and Modern Branches, I (Tuesday 3 July, 14:15–15:45)
  • Medieval Roots and Modern Branches, II (Tuesday 3 July, 16:30–18:00)
  • Tolkien in Context(s): A Round Table Discussion (Tuesday 3 July, 19:00–20:00)

Visit Dr Dimitra Fimi’s blog for more information.


Register online here.

Registration costs £25 for members and £30 for non-members, and includes refreshments throughout the day and a buffet lunch.

For all booking queries, please contact the Bookings Officer, Francesca Barbini, directly.

If you would prefer to pay by cheque or bank transfer, download the PDF booking form.

The Venue

Hilton Leeds City, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4BX

The hotel is roughly three minutes from Leeds train station. Leave the station via the main exit near Marks and Spencers. Cross the road via the pedestrian crossing and go down the staircase to the right of the taxi rank. At the bottom of the stairs take a right and continue along the road and under the recently refurbished railway bridge. Hilton Leeds City is located approximately 200m on the right.