In 1958, J.R.R. Tolkien took a trip to Rotterdam, Netherlands for a special “Hobbit Dinner” that his Dutch publishers were throwing for him. There was a Middle-earth menu and 200 fans gathered around—they were eager to hear him talk about Lord of the Rings.
The speech Tolkien gave at this dinner was thought lost to time until it emerged in the private collection of a man named René van Rossenberg, who owns a Tolkien shop… but he wouldn’t share it. Now, twenty years later, it would seem he has finally been convinced!
Huffington Post has the report, explaining why the recording will soon be available to fans everywhere:
Legendarium and the Tolkien site MiddleEarthNetwork.com have partnered with van Rossenberg to raise both awareness and funds in order to remaster the original reel-to-reel tape, chronicle the event, and make it available to the world this fall via the Rotterdam Project. “Anything new from Tolkien is always exciting,” said Tom Shippey, author of J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century, “but the Rotterdam Project is especially so. A speech from Tolkien, in the first years of his success with Lord of the Rings, when he was among friends, enjoying himself, and able to speak freely!”
So exciting! There samples of the speech in the HuffPo piece, so we definitely recommend heading over and checking it out.