Interview with Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull - authors of the J.R.R. Tolkien Companion & Guide (16.04.07 by Pieter Collier) - Comments

The most impressive book that has been published this year is for sure the two volume book set called the J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond. By far this book is the best reference ever written on Tolkien and his works. Maybe because of the size, or maybe because of the quantity (and quality) of this book, there have not been written much reviews yet. Also in my case, I started working my way through the book and have started to use it as a reference on anything that has to do with Tolkien. To write a review would be very difficult and would probably cover several chapters. So I'll review it now in one word, this book is 'brilliant'. I'm very proud to be able to post the following interview with Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond; hope you all enjoy it!

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourselves?

Christina: I was born in Bristol, England, during the Second World War, and remember well the aftermath, the many bomb craters, food rationing, etc. From an early age I was an avid reader, and this probably helped me win a scholarship to Red Maids, an academically outstanding school founded in 1634. There I discovered an interest in history, literature, art, and theatre. On leaving school I entered the government Civil Service and moved to London where I could enjoy art, theatre, ballet, and opera. Only a few years later, I began a four-year joint honours degree course at Birkbeck College, an evening college of London University for those working full time. My subjects were art history with special papers in English Romanesque and Italian Trecento art, and medieval history with the early Anglo-Saxon period as a special subject. On completing my degree, I left the Civil Service and became the Librarian at Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, in charge of a research library where people come to consult not only books but an outstanding collection of architectural drawings from the late 15th to the mid-19th centuries.

Wayne: I grew up in the fifties in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, a child of comic books, movies, and television. I also read science fiction and adventure stories, and anything to do with astronomy and oceanography. My parents were themselves avid readers, so I’ve always been surrounded by books. After high school I took my undergraduate degree at nearby Baldwin-Wallace College with a major in English; and after college I studied Library Science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I took my Master of Arts in that subject in 1975. During my spare time at Michigan I amused myself by compiling addenda to a bibliographic checklist of Tolkien: this later became my first professional publication. Soon after finishing my degree course in 1976, I was offered a job at the distinguished Chapin Library of Williams College in Massachusetts. I’ve been there ever since, at work in one of the finest collections of rare books and manuscripts in the world.

Q: How did you first get interested in Professor Tolkien’s works?

Christina: My parents allowed me to use their library tickets, so that I had access to the adult section of the local library. Early in 1955 a young librarian, who had probably just discovered the work herself, suggested that I might like The Lord of the Rings. I read the first two volumes and was one of those who waited anxiously for the final volume to be published. I still remember worrying that Tolkien might die before finishing it, and I would never know what happened! Later, of course, I learned that the main text was already complete, but publication was delayed because Tolkien was working on the Appendices. I read and reread the work, borrowing the volumes from the library, until in the early autumn of 1956, when I was yet again part way through The Return of the King, I was unable to renew the loan at the library as someone else had requested the book. I had just enough accumulated pocket money to go out and buy a copy for myself. Of course, I then wanted to get my own copies of the other volumes, each of which cost 21 shillings. My father gave me 5 shillings a week pocket money, but if I got an A-minus in the monthly class list at school, he gave me another 10 shillings. I worked hard at school that autumn, and in just over two months owned a complete set. I then bought and read The Hobbit, and acquired Tolkien’s other works as they were published.

Wayne: I first read Tolkien in 1970, when I was entering my final year of high school. Paperbacks were sold everywhere at that time, and I spotted The Two Towers and The Return of the King in a home improvement store. These volumes were in the original Ballantine edition, with the Barbara Remington covers some have found lurid but which I thought graphically intriguing. I bought those two volumes on a whim, then of course had to get The Fellowship of the Ring, which I found in a supermarket. While looking for that, I discovered The Hobbit, which the Ballantine edition called ‘the enchanting prequel to The Lord of the Rings’, and thought that I had better have that too. I read them at once, and was hooked. Later I came in for some ribbing from fellow students for liking Tolkien, at a time when we who were about to enter college or university were supposed to be reading ‘serious’ authors such as Kafka. Well, I read Kafka too, but liked Tolkien better, and knew that his books were quite as serious as anything else. Indeed, they led me into avenues of early English literature and medieval studies I might never have explored.

Q: How did you meet? Was it through Tolkien?

Each of us being an avid fan, we joined the Tolkien Society, through which we met in 1983 at a meeting of the London smial when Wayne was on his first visit to England. We were also both serious Tolkien collectors, and began to help each other acquire books published on the other side of the Atlantic. A few years later, we were serious about each other as well. We announced our engagement in 1992 at the closing ceremony of the Tolkien Centenary Conference in Oxford. We were married in December 1994 but, because of long delays in processing Christina’s application to immigrate, she was not able to join Wayne in the United States until October 1995.

Q: I’d like to talk about your new, two-volume book, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide. People sometimes confuse The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide with The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion. Can you first tell us what the Reader’s Companion is all about?

In 1996, while discussing what we might do to follow our J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator (1995), we pointed out to David Brawn at HarperCollins that the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings in 1954–5 was less than a decade away, and that it would be a good time to publish an annotated edition of Tolkien’s book, with any further corrections to the text that might be needed. About four years later, HarperCollins and the Tolkien Estate asked us if we would be interested in submitting a proposal for this project. Of course we were happy to do so. We thought very hard how such a book might be presented: if we were to repeat the format of The Annotated Hobbit, with entries in the margins beside the text, The Lord of the Rings would probably require six or seven folio volumes, and both we and the publisher were doubtful about the selling appeal of such a product, because of its size and cost, but especially as most prospective buyers would own at least one copy of The Lord of the Rings already. Therefore we decided that the best approach would be to prepare a volume of annotations without the actual text, but keyed to a new fiftieth anniversary edition of Tolkien’s work, as well as to the standard hardback setting that was published through about 1990. HarperCollins and the Tolkien Estate honoured us by printing a Tolkien design on the cover and issuing our book in a boxed set with the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings.

Q: How was its title chosen?

We and HarperCollins thought long and hard about a title which would convey that the contents clearly. The Annotated Lord of the Rings or The Lord of the Rings Annotated might wrongly suggest that the book contained Tolkien’s text as well as our annotations. The Lord of the Rings: Fifty Years would have tied our book too closely to the anniversary. A Lord of the Rings Vade-mecum or The Lord of the Rings: An Enchiridion, using old words for ‘handbook’, would have been too obscure or ‘scholarly’. From our other suggestions, HarperCollins chose The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion. Although they realized that this might cause some confusion with The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, they felt that the titles were sufficiently different to distinguish the two works. The latter title could not be changed, as it had already been advertised.

Q: How did you come also to edit the new edition of The Lord of the Rings?

HarperCollins specified in our contract for the book of annotations that we also edit The Lord of the Rings to remove typographical errors and deal with outstanding discrepancies. This was an essential prerequisite to the notes, that they be keyed to an accurate text. It took several months to compile a master list of textual changes (errors, corrections, etc.) known to have been made in the history of The Lord of the Rings, and to check them against the many editions and printings in our personal Tolkien library. In addition, we read the latest edition of The Lord of the Rings that HarperCollins had published, as they intended to revise that typesetting for the new copies. We found that many new errors had been introduced in that edition, and that some very old errors still persisted after some fifty years. Christopher Tolkien approved almost all of our suggestions for change in the text, or that the text not be changed, as the case may be. The study and close reading that all of this entailed ensured that The Lord of the Rings was fresh in our minds when we came to write our annotations.

Q: Now back to The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, could you say in a few words what the Companion and Guide is about?

The Companion and Guide is meant to be a basic reference book for the study and appreciation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Not a replacement for other books, but perhaps a source that one might look at first of all. The first of its two volumes is an extensive chronology of Tolkien’s life and works, together with family trees, and checklists of Tolkien’s published writings and art, his poems, and translations of his works. The Chronology at times provides almost a day-by-day account, ‘a picture of an extraordinarily busy man’, as we say in our preface, ‘Tolkien the scholar, Tolkien the teacher and administrator, Tolkien the husband and father, Tolkien the creator of Middle-earth’. The second volume is a long encyclopedia with articles on Tolkien’s writings, on people, places, and institutions important in his life, on the academic world of Leeds and Oxford, and on themes and ideas in his works such as allegory, free will and fate, the environment, women, war. Each volume shares a list of works consulted and a comprehensive index.

Q: What prompted you to write this book?

After we finished Artist and Illustrator, we were encouraged by Rayner Unwin to suggest other Tolkien-related books for publication. These included, to cite only two, the annotated Lord of the Rings we’ve mentioned, and an enlarged edition of Letters, which HarperCollins and the Tolkien Estate chose to decline. However, when we visited HarperCollins’ offices in London, David Brawn showed us Walter Hooper’s then-newly published C.S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide, and asked if we would like to produce a similar book on Tolkien. He pointed out that it would offer the opportunity of including extracts from previously unpublished letters and other material, which would be some compensation for no new edition of Letters at that time. We were interested indeed, and agreed to submit a proposal. In the event, we did not do so for some time, as HarperCollins was more immediately interested in our editing Tolkien’s then-unpublished children’s story Roverandom (1998) and the fiftieth anniversary edition of Farmer Giles of Ham (1949). Even so, while doing work on these volumes at Oxford and at Marquette University, we also found time to begin to do research for the Companion and Guide. HarperCollins ultimately approved our proposal for the latter, and we signed a contract in 1999.

Q: Was it originally the idea to make a two-volume book?

No, our contract was for a single volume, about the same length as Hooper’s Lewis Companion and Guide, which has 940 pages. That book is divided into a biography (120 pages), a chronology (6 pages), accounts of Lewis’s writings (subdivided into juvenilia, poetry, autobiographical, novels, theological fantasies, theology, Chronicles of Narnia, and literary criticism), key ideas, a who’s who, a what’s what (everything else, including places, recordings, Lewis societies and their publications), and a Lewis bibliography. This was our initial model. But very early on, we made two decisions. One was that we did not want to follow the organization of Hooper’s book, which we found cumbersome, in comparison to the single alphabetical sequence we chose to use. Second, as we did not want to produce yet another reduction of Humphrey Carpenter’s standard biography of Tolkien, we decided that in place of Hooper’s biography and chronology we would have only a chronology, in which we could report Tolkien’s life without having to interpret his actions, and which at the very least would allow us to present known material in a new and different form. We were pretty sure that we would be able to discover new material, but this turned out to be far greater than we expected, so much that when set in type, it would be almost as long as the whole of our intended volume. Happily, in 2002 HarperCollins agreed to expand our work to two volumes, so that we did not have to omit or cut at least half of the information we had gathered.

Q: Did you pick the names for the two volumes yourselves?

Our original overall title, for a single volume, was J.R.R. Tolkien: A Companion and Guide, after the title of Hooper’s book. A couple of years before our work was published, interest in Tolkien as a result of the films led to a flood of books, many of which did little more than rearrange or regurgitate previously published information. Since some of these included ‘Guide’ or ‘Companion’ in the title, HarperCollins decided that our comparatively lengthy and more extensively researched work should be called The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, the initial ‘The’ suggesting the primacy of a book on Tolkien from his authorized publisher. When our work became two volumes, Chronology was a straightforward descriptive choice for the first part. For the second there was no obvious choice, but we decided that Reader’s Guide would do, reflecting the ‘Guide’ of the overall title.

Q: The book had been announced for many years, and it seems that the original book grew much bigger than expected.

Our original contract called for delivery in September 2000, later revised, for a work in two volumes, to June 2003. We made a desperate attempt to meet that second deadline, but failed. The work did, as you say, grow much bigger than either we or our publishers expected. The only way we could have finished on time was to have severely limited its scope and left out much of interest. Those who complained when the book failed to appear on schedule could not know what a magnum opus it had become, and we ourselves weren’t sure how big it would get in the end. In the event, we had to lay the Companion and Guide aside temporarily in order to edit the more time-sensitive Lord of the Rings, compile a new, expanded index to that work, and write The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion, all for publication in 2004-5 -- and the Reader’s Companion itself grew to more than twice its expected length! During this period we did only minimal work on the Companion and Guide, such as undertaking new research when visiting Oxford or Marquette University, and entering newly discovered or newly published information in the Chronology. It was only after a gap of two years that we were able to return to it in autumn 2005, and it took us a little while to pick up the threads again.

Q: How do you feel about the result?

Although we regret not finishing the work earlier, the Companion and Guide as published includes information not known to us in 2003, and it benefits from the close attention we had to pay to The Lord of the Rings while writing the Reader’s Companion. We also regret that Christina’s heart attack on 1 August 2006, just as we were completing the index, and her consequent open heart surgery, meant that there was no time to check or add certain last-minute details, if the book was to be published that autumn. But in general, we feel very happy with having been able to provide those who are interested in Tolkien and his works with so much new information and analysis. We are also very pleased with HarperCollins’ jacket and box design.

Q: Will there be made a reprint of the Companion and Guide, and if so, will it be just a reprint or can we expect changes? Indeed, would you add any more things or make further changes if you had the chance?

A reprint of the Companion and Guide would depend, of course, on how well it sells. If the initial printing sells quickly, HarperCollins or Houghton Mifflin might choose to reprint to satisfy demand. But then it would up to the publisher also to decide whether to allow changes beyond the correction of simple typos, since anything more extensive would involve the expense of making new plates; and in the case of the Reader’s Guide, our text and related matter ran to the limit of pages that could be bound in one volume, on the thin but opaque paper HarperCollins chose. If, however, we could have a reprint, we would add, for instance, an entry on Christopher Tolkien’s latest work, The Children of Húrin. (Having no knowledge of that then forthcoming work, we chose in the Companion and Guide to use ‘The Children of Húrin’ to refer to Tolkien’s alliterative poem about Túrin.) We would also include something that we had prepared but had to cut for lack of space, a list of the topics covered in the Reader’s Guide (available, however, on our website, http://mysite.verizon.net/wghammond.) We were also forced to omit a series of maps, and to forego a few entries which would have gathered together information dispersed in the Chronology or elsewhere in the Guide, such as a survey of interviews and an examination of Tolkien’s methods of writing (i.e. ink over pencil).

Q: Perhaps a solution might be found to the difficulty experienced by some readers in wanting to find a particular alphabetical entry in the Reader’s Guide, though this stimulates people to search through the volume and they often find other interesting entries on the way.

Wayne, who designed and typeset the Companion and Guide, always planned to insert running heads in the Reader’s Guide as navigational aids. Final writing and revision of our text, obtaining permissions to quote, crafting a 6-page copyright statement, and compiling a 60-page index, however, took us nearly to our final deadline, and then came Christina’s unexpected heart attack and surgery. Wayne revised the index and produced final printer’s copy while sitting with Christina in hospital or caring for her on our return home. In the circumstances, there was no time also to create individual headings for more than a thousand pages, if the Companion and Guide was to be published in autumn 2006. Should there ever be a reprint, of course, we would certainly ask our publisher about the possibility of such an improvement. In the meantime, the reader might add a form of ‘thumb-indexing’ using small sticky notes or similar products as ‘tabs’.

Q: The Companion and Guide for sure has become the standard reference on Tolkien and his work. Where do you place the book yourselves?

We meant it to be a standard reference for Tolkien, and it is, but it’s not the only one. We certainly didn’t intend to replace, for instance, Carpenter’s excellent biography, which every serious reader of Tolkien should have on the shelf. That said, we’ve heard from several people who have found it a very useful reference, one which contains the answers to most questions of fact about Tolkien and his works that come to mind.

Q: What special qualifications do you have for making the Companion and Guide? What makes you different from your colleagues?

Both of us have been reading and studying Tolkien for decades. Indeed, we’re old enough to have absorbed new works by Tolkien, and many about him, on their first publication. For instance, both The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion were firmly in our minds before Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth appeared. (We find it hard to imagine what it must be like for readers who have come to Tolkien later, and are faced at once with such a bewildering and complex variety of writings.) Together and separately, we have written a great deal about Tolkien, and have edited some of his works. Wayne wrote the standard descriptive bibliography of Tolkien, for which he was allowed to read Tolkien’s correspondence with his publisher George Allen & Unwin, and Christina produced, among much else, a series of lengthy reviews of the History of Middle-earth volumes for Beyond Bree. Such work, along with our expertise in art history, led Christopher Tolkien to ask us to produce J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, the first of our joint publications. Also, we are both librarians, with skills in research and in the recording and organization of facts. We felt right at home while working in the many libraries and archives that we used for the Companion and Guide, and in writing a reference book. We ourselves have a significant collection of works by and about Tolkien, and related books and magazines, on which much of the Reader’s Companion and Companion and Guide were based.

Q: You say that you’re concerned with facts. Does that mean that you avoid speculation?

Not entirely. But we do try to curtail speculation on subjects such as ‘Who is Tom Bombadil?’ which could be answered definitively only if an unpublished Tolkien letter or document were to come to light. In the Companion and Guide as elsewhere, we concern ourselves primarily with ‘Tolkien Studies’ rather than ‘Middle-earth Studies’, to use John Ellison’s distinction. We avoid assumptions such as ‘Tolkien read this’, or ‘must have read this’, therefore it influenced a particular aspect of his writings. Often, those making such assertions don’t explore similar examples or even consider that an idea may have arisen in Tolkien’s mind quite independently. We try not to make a definite statement unless the evidence for it is clear-cut, and in such cases where evidence is lacking or contradictory but a statement must be made, we try to give as much evidence as there is on both sides. (Good examples of this are in our Companion and Guide article on The Hobbit.) Indeed, we became more cautious as our work proceeded as we found contemporary written evidence contradicting memory. Even Tolkien himself sometimes misremembered or misdated events, for instance his remarkable lapse in the Foreword to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings in which he dated the origin of that work to before the publication of The Hobbit.

Q: To write the two volumes, did you work just the two of you or did you have help from others?

All of the writing is by us, but we were helped by a great many people. There is a long list of acknowledgments in the front of each volume. We conferred with Douglas Anderson, for example, about Tolkien’s poetry, and John Garth gave us references to relevant documents in the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office). Tolkien linguist Arden Smith kindly read all of our book in draft and made many useful comments. We had invaluable help, of course, from Christopher and Priscilla Tolkien, among other members of the family.

Q: Where did you gather your information? How did you make sure that all information is correct?

Our chief source of primary material was the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Because the Companion and Guide was written under the auspices of the Tolkien Estate, we were allowed to see parts of the Tolkien Papers not normally open to researchers. We also scoured collections such as those at Marquette University in Wisconsin, the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College in Illinois, the British Library, the BBC Written Archives Centre, the University of Reading, and the Oxford University and Oxford University Press archives, as well as other collections in Oxford. Private collections were also opened to us, such as the archive of the photographer Pamela Chandler, and we again mined the Tolkien-Allen & Unwin correspondence, now at HarperCollins. We read letters by and to Tolkien wherever we could find them, including some being sold at auction. For a work like the Companion and Guide, one must cast a wide net for primary sources, and compare all available published and unpublished evidence to achieve maximum accuracy. Of course, in so lengthy and complex a work, errors inevitably creep in, and indeed we have found a few typos since publication, or have been told about them. Sometimes errors, or misleading conclusions, result from a lack of information, or from trusting what seem to be authoritative sources. For instance, only recently we have learned much more about Tolkien’s aunt Jane Neave, which we hope to report on our website before long.

Q: What is your hope for your readers?

We hope that they will find the Companion and Guide to be both useful and interesting to read, and that they will learn many new things about Tolkien.

Q: Did you yourselves learn something new about Tolkien?

We did indeed! Even after many years of study, when we thought that there was little more to learn, we discovered great quantities of information, which is why the Companion and Guide grew to such a length. We were fascinated, for instance, by the details of Tolkien’s war service that we read at first hand at the National Archives and in the Bodleian, and surprised to find that Tolkien worked for many years on an edition of Chaucer for the Clarendon Press. Of the ‘Clarendon Chaucer’, which was ultimately abandoned, we had not heard the slightest whisper. In writing our entries on Oxford University and the Oxford English School, we learned much about how these institutions worked in Tolkien’s day, which is not always understood by his readers (or by some of those who write about him). Also we were thrilled to read Tolkien’s personal diary of the trip he took to Italy with his daughter Priscilla, parts of which we include in the Companion and Guide, and his surviving correspondence with his friends in the T.C.B.S., which was also new to us as we saw it somewhat before John Garth drew upon those papers for his Tolkien and the Great War.

Q: I’d like to talk a bit about the actual process of writing. When you started this study, how did you approach it?

When she retired from her library post in London and moved to the United States, Christina had intended to get at least a part-time job, but it soon became clear that our Tolkien contracts would allow, even require, that she become a full-time writer. Since Wayne has a full-time job as a librarian, he writes in the evenings and at weekends. Christina was able to begin work on the Companion and Guide before Wayne, as he had first to finish work on his bibliography of Arthur Ransome (published in 2000). She began by assembling one chronology of events in Tolkien’s life, and another devoted to his writings, as our first idea was to publish two chronologies, in parallel. We soon abandoned this as unworkable in print, but it proved very workable in assembling facts. Christina worked her way through Carpenter (Biography and Inklings), Letters, The Tolkien Family Album, various interviews and reminiscences, and so forth for Tolkien’s life, and these plus The History of Middle-earth for his writings. We assembled a draft list of entries for the second volume, and Christina did a sweep through the same volumes, copying relevant information. Then followed a search for anything of interest in books about Tolkien, our collection of Tolkien fanzines and journals, and cuttings and photocopies, in particular the scrapbooks Christina compiled long ago, in part from the cuttings files at Allen & Unwin. Each time we visited Oxford, London, Marquette, etc., new information was added to the files.

Q: How did you divide the labour?

Christina drafted the chronologies, and for the Reader’s Guide most of the entries on places, the various elements of ‘The Silmarillion’, the published Silmarillion, and the Silmarillion chapters (which deal with the evolution of the tales within them); On Fairy-stories; authors such as Chesterton, Haggard, MacDonald, and Morris; sources (Classical, Celtic, Historical, Northern, Arthurian) and the Kalevala; themes such as Light, Pity and Mercy, Free Will and Fate, Good and Evil, Mortality and Immortality, Prejudice and Racism; and entries on Children, the Inklings, the Oxford English School, Oxford University, Reading, Religion, the T.C.B.S., Translations, War, Women, etc. Wayne edited these, and Christina approved or objected. Sometimes the entries went to and fro several times. Wayne for his part drafted the entries on the various Inklings, and on Tolkien’s many colleagues, family members, and other contemporaries; some associated authors such as Kenneth Grahame and Arthur Ransome; The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and all other non-‘Silmarillion’ works both literary and academic, including all of Tolkien’s poems other than those in The Lays of Beleriand; Languages, Writing Systems, Calligraphy; Art, Adaptations, the Ace Affair, Bibliographies, Biographies, Fandom, etc. Christina then read and commented on these, and again sometimes agreement was reached only after considerable discussion. Wayne then typeset the two books, over 2,000 pages. We compiled the index together.

Q: Where do you write?

Christina works at a computer in the room on the ground floor (U.S. first floor) that we call the Tolkien Library (not that there aren’t Tolkien books and related items in other rooms as well!) surrounded by books by Tolkien, in English and in translation, major works of reference, and transcripts of our research. Wayne works in a smaller room on the first floor (U.S. second floor), also surrounded by books, including working volumes of Tolkien’s major works, as well as specialized computer equipment and his reference library on typography and book design.

Q: When I first read the book I immediately thought this book would be perfect to digitalize, it would be the best Tolkien resource on line if this book was a website. Did you ever consider this option?

This could never be a consideration, due to restrictions against online publication of Tolkien’s writings. The Companion and Guide, like our other Tolkien books, contains extensive amounts of material by Tolkien, some of it (at least a hundred pages’ worth) previously unpublished. There’s also a financial side to the issue, in that we count on royalties from the Companion and Guide to pay our expenses for the travel and research without which we could not have written it.

Q: Are there any other Tolkien related books you are working on?

We are currently working on a catalogue of our collection of works illustrated by Pauline Baynes, who was Tolkien’s favourite artist for illustrating his own works (beginning with Farmer Giles of Ham), and of course the original artist for C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. Also Wayne has made a start on a second edition of his Tolkien bibliography for Oak Knoll Books.

Q: When you’re not working, what are your favourite ways to relax and have fun?

Wayne: Books, music, films, and television. I also like to cook.

Christina: As I no longer have the opportunities offered in London, my love of opera is now confined to CDs and DVDs. I have pretty wide tastes, but my favourite composers are Handel, Mozart, Strauss, Verdi, and Wagner. I like reading, occasionally fantasy, but more often non-fiction, particularly early and medieval history. I enjoy gardening and going out to meals in good restaurants (which is no reflection on Wayne’s very good cooking).

Q: One final question: do you look forward to The Children of Húrin?

Yes, very much so!

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