Welcome to the website of freelance writer, editor and researcher John Garth, award-winning author of Tolkien and the Great War. Here you will find:
17 October 2013: Free lunchtime lecture at the National Army Museum in London, ‘Shadow of the past: Memories of the Somme in Tolkien's Middle-earth’. 12.30pm.
29 July 2013: Talk on Tolkien, British Studies at Oxford summer school.
May 2013: Two-page review of Tolkien's long-awaited The Fall of Arthur, at The Daily Beast.
April 2013: Landmark interview with Carnegie-winning author Alan Garner in Oxford Today, plus an interview with Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price. Full issue browsable here and downloadable here. (Garner photo: Joby Sessions)
25 January 2013: Reviewed Prajwal Parajuly's The Gurkha's Daughter, in The Guardian.
December 2012 and January 2013: Interviewed on BBC Radio Oxford, BBC Online and ITV Meridian on Tolkien.
October 2012: Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s only print interview from her historic 2012 visit to Britain — in Oxford Today, alongside my interviews with £75million university bursary donor Michael Moritz and biographer Michael Korda.
30 September 2012: Gave a talk on Tolkien via live video feed to the National World War I Museum, Kansas City, Missouri.
19 August 2012: At the Tolkien Society’s Return of the Ring conference I spoke about Tolkien’s close friend Rob Gilson and took part in a panel discussion about research.
3 August 2012: Spoke on the BBC Radio 4 documentary Tolkien in Love about J.R.R. Tolkien’s reunion with his childhood sweetheart Edith Bratt, their marriage, and their wartime separation.
16 June 2012: Hungarian Tolkien Society conference in Budapest: talk on how the First World War shaped the portrayal of Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings.
Journalism includes features on the summer 2013 Bodleian exhibition, ash dieback, and the historic use of hazardous pesticides in museums. I have interviewed Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, polemicist Naomi Wolf, Pulitzer winner Siddhartha Mukherjee, Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Cook, and Britain’s most decorated living soldier Sir Tommy Macpherson, among many others. I first trained as a reporter on local papers in London.
Book reviews have appeared in The Guardian, The Daily Beast, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, The Evening Standard, The Times Literary Supplement and elsewhere, dealing with modern historical fiction, contemporary short stories, fantasy, medieval literature, literary reference, biography, and lexicography.
Editing experience spans new media, newspapers and books. I was an Evening Standard sub-editor for many years, and I have copy-edited fiction for HarperCollins.
Research for Tolkien and the Great War took me to Oxford’s Bodleian Library where I examined Tolkien’s personal papers; to the British Library; to the National Archives at Kew; and to the battlefields of the Somme. I researched and wrote the chronology for Agatha Christie’s The Grand Tour, about her round-the-world 1922 trip, filling gaps she left in her account. Other topics include the lives of many friends and connections of Tolkien, particularly R.Q. Gilson, an artist and junior officer killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. I have traced my family to the early 18th century along numerous lines, and I have used genealogy extensively in other biographical research.