John Garth

Writer, editor and researcher John Garth is well known for his ongoing work on J.R.R. Tolkien’s life and creativity. In 2017 he became only the fourth winner of the Tolkien Society’s Outstanding Contribution Award for his ‘important and exceptional’ contribution to Tolkien scholarship.

His books are published in 18 languages. His first, Tolkien and the Great War (2003), won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award. His second and third, Tolkien at Exeter College and The Worlds of JRR Tolkien: The Places that Inspired Middle-earth (Princeton University Press, 2020) have both been finalists.

Garth is working on a major study of Tolkien’s creative life as a response to the crises of his times, begun while he was a Fellow of the Black Mountain Institute, Nevada.

Other publications include chapters in the  Blackwell Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien; in Catherine McIlwaine’s Bodleian Library exhibition book Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth; and in The Great Tales Never End: Essays in Memory of Christopher Tolkien.

Garth has spoken on Tolkien to specialist and general audiences in the US and across Europe, as well as on television and other news media. He has taught courses on Tolkien, and sometimes C.S. Lewis too, for Oxford University, the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, and Signum University.

After reading English at St Anne’s College, Oxford, Garth worked for many years for London’s daily newspaper, the Evening Standard. Besides his work on Tolkien, he writes and edits more generally, both in print and online. To find out more about his work and research, you can visit his website,

John Garth squints against the sun in this lovely outdoor picture. He's got a broad smile, iron grey short hair, and a weathered look, as though he may have seen a few storms and been made kinder by the experience. John is dressed informally and he seems to be inviting us on a nice hike through the Blue Hills. The tree in the background lists at a jaunty angle, which may signify nothing at all, but there's a reason he chose this photo, so I thought that the jaunty tree might be an important part of the whole effect.