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Call for Papers

A Flame Imperishable: The Christian Legacy of J. R. R. Tolkien
September 27-28, 2024
Redeemer University
Hamilton (Ontario, Canada)
Deadline: April 30, 2024

This two-day academic conference, hosted by the Albert M. Wolters Centre for Christian Scholarship at Redeemer University (Ancaster, Ontario, Canada) and the Andrew Fuller Centre for Baptist Studies (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada), will celebrate the life, literary works, and Christian faith of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973). Tolkien was Oxford University’s Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon from 1925 to 1945 and Merton College’s Professor of English Language and Literature from 1945 to 1959. He is best known as the author of the bestselling novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and a devout Roman Catholic Christian. The organizers of the conference warmly invite proposals for 15-minute papers on all aspects of Tolkien’s life and work. Topics of interest might include but are not limited to:

  • Tolkien and his shorter works of fiction (Roverandom, Farmer Giles of Ham, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Smith of Wooten Major, Leaf by Niggle)
  • Tolkien and cinematic adaptations of his stories (eg. Ralph Bakshi’s animated version; the Peter Jackson movies (2001-2003); the Amazon Prime “The Rings of Power” series)
  • Tolkien and Christian Liturgy (explorations of Christian liturgical reflexes in Tolkien’s narrative fiction)
  • Tolkien and Monarchy (explorations of kingship in Tolkien’s fiction, especially in light of Charles III’s ascent to the throne of England)
  • The Influence of Tolkien’s “Subcreation” Concept on Christian Writers of Fiction (could be readings of published writers or reflections by creative writers on Tolkien’s impact)
Dr. Louis Markos
Professor of English, Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities, Houston Christian University
Dr. Austin M. Freeman
Chair of Apologetics at Houston Christian University

Plenary lectures will be delivered by Dr. Louis Markos (Professor of English, Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities, Houston Christian University) and Dr. Austin M. Freeman (Chair of Apologetics at Houston Christian University) on aspects of Tolkien’s life and literary production. Markos’s Saturday evening lecture, the Wolters Centre Lecture in the Arts and Humanities and entitled “J. R. R. Tolkien: The Man Who Made Middle-Earth,” is free and open to the general public.

Individual paper and/or complete session proposals, as well as questions about the conference, may be sent to wolterscentre@redeemer.ca.


Registration for the full two-day event is $49 for general attendees and $25 for students. Online registration should open in early March.

Program and Schedule

Activities: Paper Sessions, Student Paper Sessions, book launch (J. Johnson), plenary lectures
Plenary lectures: Dr. Louis Markos and Dr. Austin Freeman

September 27-28, 2024
Redeemer University
Ontario, Canada

Friday, September 27
12 noon – 1:30pm: Registration
1:45 – 3:00pm: Plenary #1: Austin Freeman “Tolkien as Apologist to the Imagination”
3:30 – 5pm: Student Paper Sessions (1-2, 6-8 15min presenters)
5 – 6:15pm: Hors d’oeuvres/ Snacks
6:30 – 8pm: General Paper Sessions #2
8 – 9pm: Book Launch: Jeremy Johnson’s new Tolkien biography

Saturday, September 28
10:30am – 12 noon: Plenary #2: A. Freeman “Tolkien and the Divine Author”
12 noon – 1:30pm: Lunch
1:45 – 3:00pm: Plenary #3: Louis Markos “Classical and Theological Virtues in Middle-earth”
3:30 – 5pm: Panel/ Roundtable w/ Freeman and Markos
5 – 6:15pm: Dinner with Fellows and Austin and Louis
8 – 9pm: Plenary: L. Markos “J. R. R. Tolkien: The Man Who Made Middle-Earth”


Nearby hotels (within a 10 minute drive of Redeemer University): 


Pearson International Airport
Hamilton International Airport