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 in their research and its dissemination.

What is it?

The Tolkien Society Bursary is intended to help outstanding postgraduate students to pursue and 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.

Why it is important

The Bursary aims to pave a way for new voices in the field of Tolkien studies, as well as providing 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 a platform for Tolkien scholars to 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 a number of Bursaries, each providing funding up to £500 (GBP). The Bursaries can be used in a number of ways:

  • To support registration costs, travel and accommodation to allow the student to present their work at a Tolkien Society event (the Seminar, Oxonmoot, and special events like Tolkien 2019)
  • To support registration costs, travel and accommodation to allow the student to present research directly related to JRR Tolkien at another recognised academic conference
  • To support the costs of undertaking research directly related to JRR Tolkien, for example travel to specific sites of interest or to access resources, or fees associated with accessing resources.

One or more calls for applications for Bursaries will be announced each year, normally with timing associated with the Call for Papers for Tolkien Society events.


The Tolkien Society Bursary is available to postgraduate students pursuing an MA, MSc, MRes, MPhil, DPhil, PhD or equivalent degree from a recognised higher education institution.

Each candidate can only submit one application per year.

Application Process

Applications for 2021 Tolkien Society Bursaries will open on Sunday 23rd May, and close at 8:00 am UK time on Thursday 1st July.

Full details of the application process can be found here.

Apply for a Tolkien Society Bursary

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.