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"Tolkien & Birmingham" and "Tolkien's Odysseys - Middle-Earth and Beyond"


This year there will be two Tolkien Society Seminars, one in the UK and one in Australia arranged by the Tolkien Society in partnership with Tol Harndor: The Australian Tolkien Society. The Tolkien Society Seminars provide academics, students and independent scholars with a venue for interdisciplinary dialogue.

"Tolkien & Birmingham", 26th June, Birmingham, UK


The first of this year's seminars will look at the city that was central to Tolkien's early years as he lived, grew up, and went to school at a variety of locations in and around the city or on its (then) outskirts. The closing date for bookings is 29th May, so please get your bookings to us before that date.

UK Venue and Date


The UK Seminar will take place on 26th June 2010 in Birmingham Central Library's Shakespeare Memorial Room as this is the remaining part of the library that is still extant from Tolkien's time in the city and may have been seen by him during his time in the city. The venue is a short walk from the main Library entrance which itself is less than ten minutes walk from Birmingham's New Street railway station and bus stops.
The outline timetable for the event at present is 9.30am to 4pm. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon tea and coffee will be provided and is included in the registration fee, which has been set at £15 for Tolkien Society members and £18 for non-members. As the venue is in the city centre there are plenty of local eateries and food outlets within a short walk so lunch is not provided.

Birmingham Registration Rates
Membership Status CurrencyAmount
Tolkien Society Member GBP£15.00
  AUD$26.00
  USD$24.00
Non-member GBP£18.00
  AUD$31.00
  USD$28.00


Please note also that for both Seminars registration to attend is by prior booking only.

The Birmingham Seminar booking form can be downloaded from here.


Call for Papers


Papers are invited on the theme "Tolkien & Birmingham". The influence of nineteenth and twentieth century urban environments appear to take us a long way from the more frequently discussed influence of the medieval but are clearly fundamental to understanding how his childhood experiences shaped his later creativity and papers may cover topics as diverse as the Tolkien & Suffield connections and histories, the encroachment of a city & suburbs on the rural areas, the industrial aspects of the city and Tolkien's reaction to them, the multiple homes he lived in, the city he left and returned to many times, and the influences of the city on Tolkien, and the modern influences of Tolkien on the city. Authors are free to draw on any part of Tolkien's oeuvre (draft ms, published work, amended edition), the various published (and soon to be published) biographies of Tolkien and his family and the various genealogies as appropriate.

Format: Papers should be either 20 or 45 minutes long to fit into half-hour or hour slots with time for questions or discussion. There may also be scope to accommodate a number of short 10-minute presentations. It is intended that there will be two morning sessions and one afternoon session between 9.30am and 4pm. Please send the title, a short summary/abstract and the intended length to Ian Collier, the Education Secretary, E-mail: edsec AT tolkiensociety.org


"Tolkien's Odysseys - Middle-Earth and Beyond", 28th August, Melbourne, Australia


After the very succesful seminar in Sydney in 2007the Society and Tol Harndor are repeating the experience this time shortly before Aussiecon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention (2nd to the 6th September). The closing date for bookings is 16th July.

Australia Venue and Date


This year's second Seminar will be held on Saturday 28th August at the Pascoe Vale Tavern, Melbourne.

The timetable for the event is 9.30am to 4pm. Lunch and refreshments will be provided and is included in the registration fee, which has been set at AUD25 (£15) for Tolkien Society members and AUD30 (£18) for non-members.

Melbourne, Australia, Registration Rates
Membership Status CurrencyAmount
Tolkien Society Member AUD$25.00
  GBP£15.00
  USD$23.00
Non-member AUD$30.00
  GBP£18.00
  USD$27.00

The cost of registration includes lunch and refreshments

Please note also that for both Seminars registration to attend is by prior booking only.

The Melbourne Seminar booking form can be downloaded from here.


Call for Papers


We invite people from Australia and abroad with an interest in Tolkien to submit a paper for consideration. The theme of odysseys is wide-ranging in scope and can cover not only various aspects of odysseys in the works of Tolkien but also the trials and tribulations of Tolkien's own life in his quest to produce his own 'British'' mythology.

Some potential topics for consideration might be:

  • The odysseys or journeys of individual characters (e.g. Bilbo, Frodo, Turin or Beren) and groups (e.g. The Fellowship)
     
  • The physical and spiritual development of characters from all of Tolkien's works
     
  • Plot development in The Lord of The Rings
     
  • The use of 'journey' as a plot device
     
  • Change for good, evil or both
     
  • Odyssey - predestination and the influences on choice
     
  • J.R.R. Tolkien's own personal odyssey in regards to not only the development of his stories, but also his life, particularly the influence of war
     
  • Homer's Odyssey - the parallels
     

Format: Papers should be either 20 or 45 minutes long to fit into half-hour or hour slots with time for questions or discussion. There may also be scope to accommodate a number of short 10-minute presentations. It is intended that there will be two morning sessions and one afternoon session between 9.30am and 4pm. Please send the title, a short summary/abstract and the intended length to the Seminar organiser, Michael Kennedy E-mail: pacific AT tolkiensociety.org
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