“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit...”
Published in 1937, these words introduced a new world, Middle-earth, to us all. They were written by J.R.R. Tolkien.
In 1969 the Tolkien Society was founded in consultation with the author who is President ‘in perpetuo’. The society’s aim being to further interest in the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien, CBE, the author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and other works of fiction and philological study. Based in the United Kingdom and registered as an independent, non-profit making charity, the Society boasts an international membership and has close links with societies around the world (several began life as smials* of the society).
The Society helps to bring together those with like minds, both formally and informally, with events and gatherings throughout the year locally or for the whole society. The following are our three major events.
The second event, the Seminar, takes place in the summer at which a programme of talks is given on a Tolkien-related subject. Any member who wishes can take part by preparing a paper so the presentations range from the serious to the light in tone and there is always something for everyone.
The special event of the Tolkien Society year is Oxonmoot, held over the weekend in September closest to the 22nd, in an Oxford College. There is a range of events such as talks, workshops, slide-shows, a dealers room, an art show (with professional and amateur works), plus a quiet area where you can drink tea, fill up the corners and chat with old or new friends. Of course there is also a party including a masquerade (costume is optional) and entertainments. It is a great time for making new friends in the Society. On Sunday there is a wreath laying and short act of remembrance at Tolkien’s grave.
Within the Society there are local groups spread around the UK and the world called *‘Smials’, after hobbit homes. Here both members and non-members gather to discuss Tolkien’s works, as well as other writers and topics. Smials act as the social lifeline of the Society. The formality and seriousness of meeting varies from Smial to Smial depending on the inclinations of members. There are also postal smials for those who live far from a local group, with regular newsletters and occasional meetings.
Special Interest Groups, cover various topics such as Tolkien collecting, biography and Tolkien’s languages. There is an active Young Members group, “Entings”, which has its own section in the Society bulletin.
Two regular publications are produced by the Society. The bulletin, Amon Hen, appears six times a year with Tolkien-related reviews, news, letters, artwork and articles, both humorous and serious. The annual journal, Mallorn, is more serious in nature with longer critical articles and essays. There are also occasional booklets produced by the Society, Special Interest Groups, Smials and also individual members, dealing with Tolkien-related matters, often focused around particular themes.
We also offer a special “Entings” membership for children and young people. “Entings” receive the Entings supplement to Amon Hen six times a year, they are not voting members of the Society and do not receive membership discounts. Associate members may become “Entings” on request at no extra charge.
The Society has a web site which provides members and non-members with general information about itself and the world of Tolkien: http://www.tolkiensociety.org
We have close and friendly links with both the late Professor’s family and publishers, also with fellow literary societies and other groups in all fictional fields. Priscilla Tolkien is the Society’s Honorary Vice-president.
There is a wide range of Tolkien books and souvenirs are available by mail order through the Society. It is also possible to purchase these at Society events and occasionally at other Fantasy and Science Fiction events in the UK.
We maintain an extensive Library and Archive, both of which are accessible to members. The Library contains a large number of mainly fantasy books which can be borrowed by UK members. In the Archive there is a wide range of press cuttings and fanzines which are available for consultation by appointment with the Archivist.