Hobbit fans gather to celebrate anniversary

thisisoxfordshire: Martin Smith will be attending his 30th Oxonmoot Buy this photo » Martin Smith will be attending his 30th Oxonmoot

TOLKIEN fans will meet in Oxford to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit – and look forward to the movie version of the book.

Since Oxford fantasy author JRR Tolkien died in 1973, members of the Tolkien Society have gathered each year in the city where he wrote The Hobbit and its sequel The Lord of the Rings.

Members meet on the weekend closest to September 22, the birthday shared by Bilbo Baggins, the hero of the children’s book The Hobbit, and his nephew Frodo.

Oxonmoot 2012 will take place at Lady Margaret Hall from Friday, September 21, until Sunday, September 23, and up to 200 people are set to attend.

Among them will be electronics consultant Martin Smith, 55, who lives near Bicester.

He got hooked on Tolkien after first reading The Hobbit as a teenager at school and first went to Oxonmoot in 1982.

He said: “This will be my 30th year at Oxonmoot and I’m really looking forward to meeting old friends.

“It’s the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit in 1973, so it’s a special year, and the focus this time will be very much on The Hobbit.

“The book is a timeless classic and I still treasure the copy my mother gave me.

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“Everyone in the society is looking forward to the first of the two films coming out before Christmas.

“I can’t picture Martin Freeman in the role as Bilbo, but he is an engaging actor and now has the chance to project himself in the role.”

Oxonmoot will feature talks hosted by people researching Tolkien’s works and life, and there is usually a quiz, an art show, and an evening get-together with a masquerade.

There will also be a visit to Tolkien’s grave at Wolvercote Cemetery.

JRR Tolkien was appointed Merton Professor of English language and literature at Oxford University in 1945.

The Hobbit was written in 1936 at his home in Northmoor Road, North Oxford, and a blue plaque on the outside of the house is a reminder that he once lived there. He died aged 79.

The Tolkien Society maintains close links with the writer’s family and publishers and has an extensive library and archive.

To celebrate the anniversary, publisher Harper Collins is encouraging schools across the country to get involved by transforming their classroom into the world of The Hobbit.

Schools in the county expected to take part on September 21 include New College School and The Cherwell School in Oxford.

  • For details about Oxonmoot visit tolkiensocety.org

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