Tolkien’s House Preservation/Poet’s House Letter – Poetry News Roundup December 7th

We begin the week here on My Poetic Side with a look at the campaign that is hoping to preserve the house where JRR Tolkien once lived. We also look at the closing of Poets House and the letter signed by literary figures protesting its closure.

Campaign Looks to Preserve Tolkien House

The house at 20 Northmoor Road in Oxford where the poet and writer JRR Tolkien lived from 1930 to 1947 with his family is the subject of a preservation campaign.

Actors who appeared in the films of the adaptations of Tolkien’s films, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, have come out in support of the campaign which would see Tolkien’s former home turned into an educational centre.

Named project Northmoor, the campaign is hoping that they will be able to raise around $6.5 million so that they can buy the property where Tolkien lived when he penned his most famous projects. To date, the project has raised $250,000

On 2nd December, Martin Freeman who played Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellen, who was Gandalf in the films, and John Rhys-Davies, the actor who played the dwarf Gimli, released a video in which they voiced their support for the concept.

McKellen pointed out that writers of the same stature as Tolkien have educational centres and museums dedicated to their memory, and urged Tolkien fans to donate what they can to the project so that there might be the same for the great writer.

Putting his voice behind the campaign, he said that the project would not reach fruition without support for fans of the writer and that the only way it would be successful was if everyone worked as a “fellowship”.

Tolkien lived at the address whilst he was a fellow a Pembroke College and then Merton.

If the full amount of money is raised, the plan is for the six-bedroom property to be renovated, there will be a hobbit house together with an area for pipe smoking near the Tolkien tree.

The project is the brainchild of Julia Golding, the British Novelist. She acknowledges that raising such a large sum of money in just 3 months is a challenge, but this is certainly something that is well worth doing

It is hoped that if the house can be completed it will become a haven for fans of Tolkien from all over the world.

Letter to Poets House Signed by Over 200 Figures in Literature

A large group of writers, poets and artists have written to the board of the non-profit to ask them to take a look at their decision to fire their staff and look for a way to make working conditions dignified. In the open letter, they have asked for transparent and full accounting of the decisions that were made and why.

The 9 staff were laid off via Zoom on 16th November.

There has been a lack of transparency over the decision, however Poets House have indicated that they are hoping once the pandemic is under control that they will be able to open, potentially in late 2021.

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