Writers

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J. R. R. Tolkien

1892-1973

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892 – 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic. He is best known as the author of the high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was born in the Orange Free State, South Africa. His father, Arthur Reuel Tolkien, a bank clerk, died in South Africa in 1896 and his mother, Mabel, returned to England to live near Birmingham with Ronald (as he was known in the family) and his younger brother, Hilary. When Ronald’s mother died in 1904, her sons were made wards of a Catholic priest, Francis Morgan. The boys could not live with Father Francis at the Birmingham Oratory and so he organised for them to be cared for elsewhere, in kinship and foster care. Tolkien served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as The Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. After Tolkien's death, his son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts/