Tolkien Society Seminar 2020
4 – 5 July 2020
Back to events feed Hilton Leeds City, UK
Hilton Leeds City, UK
Leeds was Tolkien’s home 1920–25. Between 1924 and 1925, Tolkien and his family lived at 2 Darnley Road, West Park, Leeds.

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The Tolkien Society Seminar 2020 will be held on Saturday 4th July and Sunday 5th July in Leeds at the Hilton Leeds City.

About the Seminar

The Tolkien Society Seminar is a short conference of both researcher-led and non-academic presentations on a specific theme pertaining to Tolkien scholarshoip. 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).

“I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.” – Letter 131, to Milton Waldman

Owing to the overwhelming popularity of the event in previous years, a decision has been made to extend the Seminar by a half-day in 2020. In anticipation of the Tolkien TV adaptation by Amazon Prime, this year’s Seminar invites speakers to explore the topic of adapting Tolkien to the screen and beyond. Papers may consider, but are not limited to:

  • Adapting Tolkien’s works to stage and screen
  • Fan-made content
  • Illustrating Middle-earth
  • Tolkienian pastiche
  • Other adaptations: games, merchandise and Hobbit-hole hotels

Following the untimely death of Christopher Tolkien, we would like to recognise his immeasurable contribution to the field of Tolkien studies by inviting a panel discussion on Christopher Tolkien’s interaction with his father’s work.

The conference opens with registration at 9am on Saturday for a full day of papers running until 6pm, and an informal inn-moot at the Scarborough Hotel at 7pm. The conference resumes on Sunday with papers running between 9am and 1pm.

A buffet lunch is provided in the middle of Saturday, coffee and light refreshments are provided during breaks on both days.

How to Apply

The Tolkien Society invites abstract submissions of no more than 300 words, along with a short bibliography, for a 20-minute paper with 5 minutes of questions. The applications close on 5th April 2020. If you have any questions, please contact the Education Secretary at

Submit your abstract online here.


Applicants to present at the Seminar who are pursuing a graduate degree (MA, MRes, MSc, PhD, DPhil or equivalent) from a recognised higher education institution are eligible to apply to the Tolkien Society Bursary for support with attendance at the Seminar. Bursary applications are now open and close at midnight UK time on 22nd March, 2020.

International Medieval Congres

There will be five Tolkien-related sessions at the IMC in 2020:

  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Medieval Roots and Modern Branches (Monday 6 July, 11:15–12:45)
  • New Sources and Approaches to Tolkien’s Medievalism – A Round Table Discussion (Tuesday 7 July, 19:00-20:00)
  • Borders in Tolkien’s Medievalism I (Thursday 9 July, 9:00-10:30)
  • Borders in Tolkien’s Medievalism II (Thursday 9 July, 11:15-12:45)
  • Borders in Tolkien’s Medievalism III (Thursday 9 July, 14:15-15:45)

Visit Dr Andrew Higgins’s blog for more information.


Register online here.

Registration costs £35 for members and £40 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.

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.