Tolkien Society Bursary

The Tolkien Society is dedicated to promoting the study of the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien. We are delighted to offer a Bursary to support budding academics who attend Tolkien Society events to present their work.

What is it?

The Tolkien Society Bursary is intended to help outstanding graduate students to present their research to the wider Tolkien community, no matter their personal circumstances. We want to facilitate new academic discussions from diverse backgrounds by helping new voices gain confidence in the field of Tolkien studies, as well as encouraging the academic and non-academic members of the Society to share ideas at our conference events.

Why it is important

The Bursary aims to pave a way for new voices in the field of Tolkien studies as well as provide members of the Tolkien Society with the very best of new Tolkien scholarship, thus fulfilling both our charitable and educational remits. We want to nurture and support the next generation of Tolkien scholars so Tolkien scholarship keeps up with the latest trends and developments; this is in line with our charitable aim:

The Society shall seek to educate the public in, and promote research into, the life and works of Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE.

Few universities offer Tolkien-specific courses, so Tolkien Society events are often the only place where scholars of Tolkien can present their work to an audience of like-minded people. We are proud to help as many researchers as we can to attend our events.

How it works

Every year, the Society makes available up to four Bursaries that include a grant of up to £500 (GBP) towards the cost of travel to the event and accommodation costs, as well as covering the attendance fees to the event at which the recipient will be presenting.

The Bursary applies to all Tolkien Society events with a conference component: the annual Seminar, Oxonmoot, and special events like Tolkien 2019.

Bursary applications open shortly after the release of the Call for Papers for each event.


The Tolkien Society Bursary is available to graduate students pursuing an MA, MSc, MRes, MPhil, DPhil, PhD or equivalent degree from a recognised higher education institution; and whose paper is accepted to be presented at the Tolkien Society Seminar, Oxonmoot or a special event with a conference component.

Each candidate can only submit one application per year.

Applicants will be asked to provide:

  • the title of their paper;
  • proof of enrolment at their institution;
  • a cover letter detailing the reason of their application; and
  • their CV.

Application Process

Following the decision that neither the Seminar nor Oxonmoot will run as face-to-face events in 2020, we will not be providing any bursaries this year.

The application process and timing for bursaries in 2021 will be announced next year.

Successful Applicants


Will Sherwood – University of Exeter, UK – MA

Will is a Masters by Research student at the University of Exeter. His current research includes the
works of J. R. R. Tolkien, British Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Antiquarianism – specifically the poetical works of John Keats. For his MbyRes, Will has married together his two key interests to explore ‘The Romantic Faëry: Keats, Tolkien and the Perilous Realm’. The thesis works to investigate the previously overlooked connections that tie Tolkien’s life and fictional work to Keats’s own. He hopes to move forward to further explore the relationship between Tolkien and Romanticism at PhD level.


Laura Martin-Gomez – Université d’Artois, France – PhD

Laura has been researching Tolkien fandom since 2015 for her PhD in Comparative Literature under the supervision of Anne Besson (Université d’Artois, France). Her interests lie in the development of fandoms through organizations and fanzine publication in the USA, the UK and France. For her Master’s degree in British History (2009-2011), she studied Tolkien’s childhood in Birmingham and Tolkien’s role in the evolution of Oxford syllabuses. She is also the Vice-President of Tolkiendil, a major French Tolkien society in which she has been an active member for more than ten years. Incidentally, she also tries to be an inspiring English teacher for French high school students.


Ebrahim Taghavi – Universitat Potsdam, Germany – MA

Ebrahim, born 1986 in Tehran, moved to Potsdam, Germany to pursue an MA in Germanistics since 2015. His teen years fascination about Norse and Germanic mythology, amplified through Tolkien’s work has been his greatest motivation in learning German as a foreign language and studying German literature of middle ages. He has been an avid contributor to, the largest fandom community of Tolkien among Persian speakers, since its early days and also have co-translated and published the Children of Húrin in Iran.


Aslı Bülbül Candaş – University of Glasgow, UK – PhD

Aslı is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow and studies philosophical aspects of perfection in Tolkien’s secondary world by working on the concept of art. She received her BA from İstanbul University and MA from İstanbul Aydın University. Her master’s degree dealt with the influence of history and culture in The Lord of the Rings. She has been a member of The Tolkien Society since 2015. Two of her articles were published in the Proceedings of the Tolkien Society Seminar 2016 and 2018. She shared her MA Thesis at ERASMUS Teaching Mobility in Poland in 2016.