“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

– J R R Tolkien – 1937

Considered by many to be the father of modern fantasy literature, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien or J R R Tolkien, was born on January 3, 1892, in Orange Free State in South Africa. He completed his education from Exeter College, England, by earning a first-class degree, specialising in Anglo-Saxon and Germanic languages and classical literature. He was also recruited as a lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers and served in the World War I up until his retirement in 1959. However, he continued his passion for writing alongside. He joined the faculty of the University of Leeds in 1920 and became the youngest professor there. Later, he became a professor at Oxford with a fellowship at Pembroke College and it was during this time that he wrote “The Hobbit” and the first two volumes of “The Lord of the Rings” which were to become his best-selling books of all time. The Lord of the Rings is considered to be one of the successful novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold worldwide. The opening review of the book given by the Sunday Telegraph was that it was "among the greatest works of imaginative fiction of the twentieth century”. It was awarded the International Fantasy Award in 1957. A 1999 poll of Amazon.com customers showed that they considered this book to be the "book of the millennium”. Tolkien also published an essay and a poetry collection, Tree and Leaf. His other notable works include a translation of Beowulf, The Book of Lost Tales, The Children of Húrin, Silmarillion and the fantasy tale “Smith of Wootton Major”. He died on September 2, 1973, at the age of 81 while his wife died in the preceding year. He was survived by four children.