Tolkien Experience Project Launch

(After several suggestions, this post has been replaced by a stable page on my website. It provides the most up-to-date information and a catalogue of previous contributions.)

Please visit the updated page


Hello, and welcome to the beginning of an exciting side project that I am working on! One of the first things that comes up when Tolkien fans get into a shared space is the desire to bond over our experiences of Tolkien’s work. This is a wonderful impulse that draws us together as a fan and scholarly community!

When I tell people that my PhD Research focuses on the experience of young readers of Tolkien, they often ask if they can participate if they are over the age of eighteen. Unfortunately, people older than eighteen fall outside of the scope of that project.

Instead of turning those people away, though, and missing the chance to hear about their significant experiences with Tolkien, I have created this side project. It will serve as a way for readers who cannot participate in my PhD research to still share their stories with the rest of us!

The basic format is that participants reflect on a set of five questions, and then respond to them in short-answer format. This means that answers can be one sentence, or a few paragraphs–no novellas please, mostly because those would be a bit impractical for a blog!

The questions are:

  1. How were you introduced to Tolkien’s work?
  2. What is your favorite part of Tolkien’s work?
  3. What is your fondest experience of Tolkien’s work?
  4. Has the way you approach Tolkien’s work changed over time?
  5. Would you ever recommend Tolkien’s work? Why/Why not?

Participants can take as much time as they need to answer these questions, then they send their answers to me via email. I may respond directly to the participant once or twice to clarify a point or two or to fix typos, but the answers are largely unedited/unfiltered before they are posted here for everyone to see and respond to.

The hope is that this will be a way to foster more community around our interesting, unique, and diverse experiences of Tolkien!

If you would like to participate, you can use the form on the Contact page to send your answers to me, or email me your answers directly!

For full transparency, I should mention that no participants ‘get anything’ out of the project other than the opportunity to share their perspective. I also allow participants to include a link to their blog or social media site if they wish so that other Tolkien fans can follow them and create a larger Tolkien community.


I want to thank Donato Giancola for allowing me to use his stunning portrait of J.R.R Tolkien as the featured image for this project. If you would like to purchase print of this painting, they are available on his website!

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