Tolkien conference season 2016

Here are some Tolkien conferences coming up in the spring and summer — prime conference season! I can’t claim to list every event that’s going on, so if you’d like to add something to the list, please let me know in the comments section. If you want to know about Tolkien-related events around the world, not necessarily just conferences, I’d suggest the public Facebook group International Tolkien Fellowship List of Events. Also, Troels Forchammer’s monthly Tolkien Transactions usually catches more items than I’m aware of. But here are the conferences that I do know about:

Popular Culture Association (PCA)

Popular Culture Association logo

Seattle, Washington
March 22 -25, 2016

The preliminary program, organized by Robin Reid, can be viewed here. The speakers include Martin Barker presenting on the World Hobbit Project; an academic editors’ roundtable discussion with Leslie Donovan, Janet Croft, Brad Eden, Janice Bogstad, and Martin Barker; and numerous other papers on adaptation, translation, reception, and more. The nice thing about the online PCA program is that you can dig down into each session and read the abstracts of all the papers. There are eight sessions in the Tolkien Studies area, another successful year for this new subject area at the PCA national conference.


13th Annual Tolkien in Vermont conference

Tolkien in Vermont conference

Burlington, Vermont
April 8 – 9, 2016

This year’s theme is “Tolkien and Popular Culture,” with keynote speaker Robin Reid. A program will be available on the Tolkien in Vermont website. This small conference, organized by Chris Vaccaro, is always a friendly mix of faculty, students, and independent scholars.


Tolkien’s Philosophy of Language

13th Seminar of the Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft (DTF)
The Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Walking Tree Publishers
May 6 – 8, 2016

A link to more conference information can be found here.


Tolkien at Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo campus swan pond

International Congress on Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Michigan
May 12 – 15, 2016

I’ve already posted a schedule of sessions on Tolkien and medievalism as they appeared in the preliminary program. There are seven sessions dealing with Tolkien, mostly organized by Brad Eden and a few others. This year, one of the plenary speakers will be Jane Chance talking about “How we read J.R.R. Tolkien reading Grendel’s mother.” The ICMS is a huge conference, usually drawing around 3,000 participants in sessions on all aspects of the Middle Ages and medievalism.


Tolkien Among Scholars: 7th Unquendor Lustrum Conference 2016

Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society and the Dutch Tolkien Society Unquendor.
June 18, 2016

The keynote speakers for this international conference will be Thomas M. Honegger and Paul Smith. The program will be posted on the conference website.


Tolkien Society Seminar 2016

Tolkien Society

Leeds, UK
July 3, 2016

The theme of this year’s seminar is “Life, Death, and Immortality,” and if you’re interested in giving a paper, there’s still time: March 25 is the deadline for submissions. You can find the Call for Papers and more information here. The Seminar takes place the day before the International Medieval Congress begins at Leeds University, where you’ll find more Tolkien sessions (see below).


International Medieval Congress


Leeds University
July 4 – 7, 2016

Dimitra Fimi has organized two sessions on Tolkien for this conference. Like Kalamazoo, the Leeds conference draws thousands of medievalists every year. The program will be posted on the conference website.


New York Tolkien Conference


Baruch College, New York City
July 16, 2016

This conference, organized by Jessica Burke and Anthony Burdge, is back again after last year’s successful inaugural event. The special theme for this year’s conference is “The Inklings and Science,” with guests of honour Kristine Larsen and Jared Lobdell. The call for papers has not yet been posted, but keep checking the conference site for information as it becomes available.


Mythcon 47

Mythopoeic Society

Mythopoeic Society
San Antonio, Texas
August 5 – 8, 2016

The special theme for this year’s conference is “Faces of Mythology: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern.” The Scholar Guest of Honour is Andrew Lazo and the Author Guest of Honour, Midori Snyder. You can find a call for papers here; the deadline is May 1st to send proposals to Jason Fisher, the papers co-ordinator for this conference.


That’s my list for now. Clearly, the field of Tolkien Studies is thriving. I wish I had unlimited funds to travel to every one of these meetings!



3 responses to “Tolkien conference season 2016”

  1. Do you want a Tolkien speaker? – My book ‘TOLKIEN AND ME’ – is now available on Amazon.
    Please advise
    Philip Lowe


    • Hi Philip, I’m not one of the conference organizers; I just post conference news and schedules. To speak at one of the Tolkien conferences, you would have to submit a proposal to the organizer(s) according to their submission guidelines. I often post calls for papers which would give you the information you need.
      Thanks for reading my blog!


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