July 23, 2016 by Anthony Burdge
It is our hope everyone returned home safe and sound after visiting NYC for the 2016 NY Tolkien Conference a week ago today. We have been resting for the last week and gathering our thoughts about this year’s Conference, which was the second of our annual Tolkien Conference events. Jessica and I find ourselves at a loss for words in how grateful we are to everyone for their support of this event. Firstly, we cannot thank Chris Tuthill enough for his work on coordinating with Baruch to host this event these last two years. In addition, we had another team member this year, Bronwen Hobbs, to whom we are very thankful for all her work with us this year.
There are quite a number of fan communities, scholars, and authors we are very grateful to for helping to spread the word, contributing their work and supporting this event . An event like this does not happen without the contribution of great programs by wonderful presenters and attendees. We coordinated the program and put it all together, but without our presenters and attendees, this event would not have happened.
To all of our presenters who chose to share their work with everyone this year, Thank You! We received a number of great responses, and positive thoughts on the Conference and are very grateful to everyone who shared them with us.
This year featured Kristine Larsen and Jared Lobdell as our Guests of Honor, which our theme of “The Inklings and Science,” was derived. In addition, our 2015 Guest of Honor, Janet Brennan Croft, returned and presented two programs. If you are in the New Jersey/New York area join us for Croft’s presentation of Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien (Mythopoeic Press, 2015) as she will present about the book from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on July 27, 2016 at Alexander Library. Click for more information
All of our 2016 Programs can be found here, and shall remain listed until planning for 2017 gets underway.
It was especially meaningful to finally meet Jared Lobdell in person. We have corresponded with Jared for sometime and have been reading his work since being introduced to it via A Tolkien Compass many years ago. The few moments of chatting with Jared throughout the Conference were incredibly enlightening. A program featuring a discussion of his work, Seeking the Lord, revealed a number of interesting facts about the writing of the tale, which was published by Myth Ink Books. This program was recorded and we are working on having the video featured on our YouTube Channel
There were a number of people who could not attend this year, who attended last year, and some who had unexpected emergencies and could not join us this year. We field tested live streaming a few talks via our Facebook Live on our Conference Facebook page Those videos are now posted via our YouTube Channel. There are currently 4 recordings: Guest of Honor presentations by Kristine Larsen and Jared Lobdell, “JRR Tolkien and War” by Janet Brennan Croft, and “The Importance of Genealogy in Tolkien’s Works” by Laurel Michalek and Kaleena Ma. We are currently working with Tim Fisher, who presented “What is the Relationship between Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle?” which was recorded by our mutual friend Dennis. Once they have edited the talk we shall upload to it our YouTube Channel
Guest of Honor Kristine Larsen
Guest of Honor Jared Lobdell
In addition to the recorded talks, presenter Joe Hoffman has uploaded his paper, “Ardagraphic Information Systems,” to his website, which we are looking forward to reading.
We know another talk was recorded,”The Borders of the (Fictional) World: Fan Fiction Archives, Ideological Approaches, and Fan Identity,” Presented By Dawn M. Walls-Thumma and Janet McCullough John. When we receive word of its availability we shall share it with everyone.
We wrapped the Conference with a few thoughts toward our 2017 event. The 3rd annual New York Tolkien Conference will focus on the theme of “Celebrating 80 years of The Hobbit.” In 2017 we will honor the 80th publication anniversary of The Hobbit and will seek to have programming to reflect all aspects of The Hobbit.
However, as we told attendees last Saturday, we feel this event cannot move forward, especially with plans for a larger event next year, without a bigger team to produce the Conference. The 2015 event had 3 people on staff, for 2016 we had 4, and hope to at least double that number for the 2017 Conference. In the coming weeks we shall announce roles we are seeking to fill for the 2017 Conference team and how you can become a part of our team. Please stay tuned for those details in due course.
Lastly, if you would like to help support our operations, please visit our Redbubble Store and purchase items with the 2015 and 2016 Conference Logos illustrated by Luke Spooner of Carrion House. By purchasing T-shirts, mugs, prints, stickers, duvets and more you are helping fund our 2017 Conference, which we are grateful to all who have done so already.