Thames River Press Welcomes Grandson of J.R.R. TolkienDate: Friday 13th April 2012
Michael Tolkien, the grandson of legendary J.R.R. Tolkien, signs a two-title contract with Thames River Press. Besides being highly engaging, these stories also represent literary history. Wish and Rainbow are both scheduled to be released later this year.
Wish was inspired by Florence Bone's fantasy story for children, The Rose-Coloured Wish (1923). Telling the story of two children who set out to use an evil enchanter's wishing chain of stones to save their alpine valley, only to fall into trouble, the book was read to Michael in the 40s and 50s as a child, and he in turn read it to his own children. Tolkien decided to pay tribute to the now-neglected tale and to "recreate the spirit of the original in new dress" through a verse retelling.
The audiobook version is also narrated by Gerald Dickens, actor and descendant of the Bleak House and Oliver Twist author. Gerald Dickens described Wish as a "timeless story which children will enjoy for years to come. Michael Tolkien has brought it to life in narrative verse.”
The second book, Rainbow is based on Florence Bone’s children’s fantasy novel The Other Side of the Rainbow (1910). Michael adapts its themes, characters and journey into a world beyond, which is not whimsical and wayward but conceived as an extension of everyday experience, with added ingredients to make this an exploration of the gift of wonder, the power of selfless love to make lasting changes, deceptive appearances, and the energies of the living world. Grace's unpredictable and often 'diverted' travels towards the mythical havens of Rainbow Garden, Bridge and Palace become a kind of 'pilgrim's progress.'
Michael Tolkien is currently working on his third work of narrative verse based on The Idle Fairy by Hilda C. Adshead (1930) and illustrated by Anne Rochester.
Michael Tolkien was born in Birmingham in 1943. He was brought up in a rural community in the Chiltern Hills, South Oxfordshire until 1956. Following his father's changes of employment, he returned to suburban Birmingham for two years before moving to the Vale of Pickering in North Yorkshire and to Ribblesdale in Lancashire. He feels a close and lasting affinity with these two places.
He studied for an MA in English Language and Literature at the University of St Andrews, and a B.Phil in Restoration and 18th Century English Literature at Merton College, Oxford. He settled in Rutland and was a secondary school teacher from 1968 until early retirement due to ill health in 1994. Since then he has worked as a freelance lecturer, in adult education, and focused on his own writing and reviewing. Michael has also published four poetry collections.