An Open Letter to Christopher Tolkien on His 95th Birthday

An open letter to Christopher Tolkien:

Dear sir,

I wanted to share something with you on this day of special magnificence, your ninety-fifth birthday. For more than a year, I have asked for fans of your father’s work to send me their story for a series I call the Tolkien Experience Project. I ask a few questions for each participant to answer, and, in doing so, they share how they learned about J.R.R. Tolkien, what they love about his writing, how his writing has influenced their life, and how their approach to his texts has changed over time.

I wanted to make you aware of this project today especially. If you have the chance to read through some of the entries, you will find that many of the participants express gratitude for your father’s work and for your own. Your seemingly tireless dedication to editing and publishing texts and notes has influenced the lives of thousands. I know that this small sample does not do justice to the breadth and depth of Tolkien readers (both your father’s and your own), but maybe, just maybe, reading one or two will bring you a small bit of happiness on this, your birthday.

To see the project, you can go to:

I would like to say happy birthday and sincerely thank you for all you have done to shape our understanding of your father’s work, of fantasy writing, of the creative process, and of Old English texts.



Luke Shelton

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