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© 2009/2010 Festival in the Shire Journal. All rights reserved.

From the Editor

Welcome to the launch issue of the online magazine of the Festival in the Shire. Like the Festival itself, we (those of us working on it behind the scenes) wish the magazine to both reflect and nourish the wide interests of those who find inspiration from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien—the full range of his fiction and his scholarship. We are planning to add further sections to the magazine, so please feed in your suggestions for what we should include.

To remind us of the person who lies behind all that we are trying to do, this issue presents a landmark 1966 interview with J. R. R. Tolkien by a former pupil of his and fan, the late Daphne Castell. This interview has not been easy to obtain for many years and so we are delighted to republish it. Because of their friendship, the Professor was relaxed and avuncular with Daphne Castell, opening up what was for him still very much a private world, based on languages that he made up, a process which, decades earlier, he had described as a “secret vice”. Also, we have a first-ever feature on Daphne Castell herself – an outstanding science-fiction author with a love for fantasy – prepared with the help of her family.

Pioneering scholar Jane Chance, artist Jef Murray (who recently illustrated stories by Hilary Tolkien, brother of J. R. R. Tolkien), and musicians Arjan Kiel and Martin Romberg, have been interviewed especially for the magazine. We also feature a unique reading and language group of primary school children. Each represents part of the conversation that is going on throughout the world among those whom J. R. R. Tolkien has brought together by the richness of his invented world, and the vision behind it, which never fails to reveal depths upon depths. In future issues we plan to interview a range of outstanding scholars, artists, and others who have a unique take on his work. There is much to inspire and discuss, so participate in the conversation by taking the opportunity to comment on particular pieces, and to blog on the forum elsewhere on the Festival site.

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"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..."

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, from a letter written to Milton Waldman, ca. 1951

Our hope is that this magazine, and the Festival in the Shire to which it belongs, will play a part in implementing J. R. R. Tolkien’s vision for his work for today, in which scholars, storytellers, writers, artists, musicians, dancers, crafts people, film makers, theatre and television producers and directors, actors, and many others carry on his inspiration. In a letter explaining his scheme for the then unpublished The Silmarillion, he wrote of what then seemed an absurdity: “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.” He believed that his inspiration was a gift—a gift he generously passed on to others. His work has passed the human test of bringing together people from across the diverse globe in a shared pleasure that is imaginatively, emotionally and intellectually satisfying.

Colin Duriez

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