Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Tolkien festival planned for town

JRR Tolkien
JRR Tolkien, who died in 1973, wrote Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

The influence the Welsh language had on books by JRR Tolkien is to form part of a major new festival in Powys to honour the author.

The Festival in the Shire will celebrate themes inspired by Tolkien, whose novels included Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Fans of the writer, leading academics and illustrators are expected to attend the planned event in Machynlleth.

It is being organised by local book dealer Mark Faith for next August.

Mr Faith said Tolkien's fans would have the opportunity to delve deeper into the writer's work with a conference entitled: Welsh influences on the works of JRR Tolkien.

It is planned to feature "internationally respected speakers".

'Grey Elves'

Mr Faith said: "After the success of the Lord of the Rings films and with the release of the new Hobbit film in the next couple of years, the time seemed right for a Tolkien festival."

He added that it was important it should be held in Machynlleth.

"Not only did the setting seem ideal for a Tolkien event but I hope the town and surrounding communities will benefit economically," he said.

"My love for the geography and culture of this area is in part connected to my love of Tolkien's books. I hope that this will turn into an annual event that will help local business and our community."

Dimitra Fimi from Cardiff University, a specialist on Tolkien's Welsh connections and his use of the Welsh language, will speak at the festival.

She said not many people knew of Tolkien's love of Welsh and his debt to Celtic literature.

She added: "Tolkien was fascinated by Welsh from childhood, when he first encountered Welsh names on coal trucks arriving to the railway station at the back of his house in Birmingham.

"In his youth he started creating an invented language based on Welsh phonology and grammar, which was later to become Sindarin, the language of the Grey Elves of middle-earth."

The festival will also feature an exhibition showcasing rare first editions of Tolkien's books, original art and other Tolkien artefacts.



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