In the evening of the 3rd January 1892, Mabel Tolkien gave birth to her first son in the dusty South African frontier town of Bloemfontein. She named him John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
That child was to become one of the world’s greatest fantasy novelists, as well as an Anglo-Saxon scholar of international renown. He would grow up to be a humble man, steadfast in his belief of God, and somewhat confused about the fame that surrounded him in later life. His imagination would take him on journeys through the depths of time and the vastness of space, yet his most beloved creation was a race of small men, homely and peace-living, living in a green land of woods and vales.
The impact of his works can hardly be underestimated. To quote from the Sunday Times:
“The English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and those who are going to read them”