© 2021 Festival Art and Books. All rights reserved.

John Garth

From the Editor

Alex Lewis. 

Well, I’m back! - the final words of Sam Gamgee after he returned from the Grey Havens to see off Frodo and the other Ring-bearers.

So to the Festival - what an event that was! The road wound ever on and on, and eventually we found it, 15 miles outside Aberystwyth. It was well worth the journey to reach the stunning location. Not far from the Devil’s Bridge, this is some of the loveliest Welsh countryside there is. The Pavillion is enormous - a massive venue in a small village, but perfect for holding an event for large numbers of people. What makes a Tolkien-ispired event such as this special? The friendliness and the fellowship of the people - and that I can say was as true here as it has been at any of the really great events. There was a wonderful art gallery and book and collectibles display set in a very atmospheric room, for which James and his father are to be congratulated. The stage and the shopping mall areas were very nicely set out too and up at the top end there was a food area with really good fare on offer. There are many pictures from the event and we shall include a selection for readers to get a flavour of what we all enjoyed there.

The word I heard most often used to describe this Festival was: amazing.


"The word I heard most often used to describe this Festival was: amazing."

I have to declare an interest - I was one of the conference and expo. directors, and as such I spent most of my time organising and attending the two streams of talks in the separate building. For a more comprehensive report of the whole Festival, there are other reports. But the conference and exposition were both extremely successful. All the talks ran pretty much to schedule, and there were few glitches along the way. The talks were all of very high calibre, and our Keynote speakers did us proud, but not only them - all the speakers rose to the challenge, and the younger ones were very promising and had interesting things to say. One might boldly suggest that the state of Tolkien studies was advanced during the three days that we gathered there and talked and listened. We very much hope to bring readers the proceedings in a short while, once we gather all the talks - which leads me to my first request. If you are one of our attending speakers, can you please send your talks - both the conference and expo ones - to the editor? The sooner we get them all, the sooner we can publish the Proceedings. I shall repeat this request in a formal announcement elsewhere in this month’s journal, just to ensure all folk read it. The gathering of such luminaries as Tom Shippey and Verlyn Flieger together to meet other scholars of note such as Colin Duriez, Dimitra Fimi and Corey Olsen was extremely valuable for all concerned (apologies to those I have not mentioned - I could list everyone if I wished to give all those who contributed significantly to the event). I heard it very often on the final day that everyone was extremely satisfied and hoped that the conference would take place next year too, as it was such a success.

I might make a suggestion to all readers who didn’t come along but who would have liked to do so - start saving now for 2011. If you put aside, say, £20 per month from now on, you will find you have what you need to attend and it won’t need to be found all at once.

Included in this issue is the solution to the crossword puzzle that was in last month’s journal. I hope readers enjoyed it - let me know if you want more.

There is an interview with Corey Olsen by Colin Duriez, which is well worth reading as the Tolkien Professor’s knowledge is compendious and he is a great speaker and an all-round nice guy! (blushes I am sure from Corey).

I also have a conversation with Chris Bradshaw, the author of a fantasy novel about to be published in mass market format The Green Book of Olwen Ellis where he tells the journal what kind of book it is.

We also have an excellent paper by Kevid Dodd - very thoughtful and insightful - on violence in the Lord of the Rings.

There is a review of a recent Tolkien studies book Arda Reconstructed that has caused some controversy apparently, written for the journal by my co-author Elizabeth Currie.

I continue some more interesting information about another place that Tolkien and his friends knew well.

Alex Lewis