The annual Tolkien lecture is organised by some of the following former and current Pembroke students:
Lindsey Cohick is an MPhil Candidate in International Relations at Pembroke College, Oxford. She earned her BA in East Asian Studies and History at Rutgers University, in her home state of New Jersey. An ardent fan of all things fictional, in her free time she reads fantasy novels and marathons superhero movies. Growing up, the Lord of the Rings film trilogy was a favorite of hers, to the extent that she could recite the lines along with the characters on screen.
Louis Morris is a DPhil student in History and hails from Thames Ditton, a suburb whose main claim to speculative-fiction fame is that it was destroyed by alien gas weapons in one sentence of The War of the Worlds. He spends his spare time reading about monsters, and the rest of his time studying the biggest and weirdest monster of them all: the Holy Roman Empire.
Augustus Porter is a DPhil student at Pembroke studying Astrophysics. Growing up he loved reading all things science fiction, before finally getting around to reading the Lord of the Rings in his late teens, leading to an enduring passion for all things Middle-Earth. Professor Tolkien’s work has also introduced him to a whole new world of literature, from the Icelandic sagas to Beowulf to the Kalevala. Augustus, when not searching for extrasolar planets, spends most of his spare time reading, rowing, and pining for a pre-1066 society.
Max found his way into Pembroke in 2012 because of his love of Japan, but found with no small amount of joy that J. R. R. Tolkien had been a Professor at the college. Max read The Fellowship of the Ring on a journey through New Zealand when he was ten and remained a fan of Tolkien and his world. Pembroke has found a special place in Max’s heart, right beside the fantastic locales of Rivendell and Minas Tirith. He hopes that the continuation of the Tolkien Lecture Series will expose others to the magic of Tolkien and Pembroke College.
Will Badger holds an MFA in Creative Writing from NC State University and an MSt in English Literature from Pembroke College, Oxford. His DPhil research explores representations of witchcraft in the plays of Shakespeare and other early modern dramatists. He still remembers his dad reading The Hobbit at his bedside, and the striking covers of the Ballantine 3rd edition of The Lord of the Rings. Together with Gabriel Schenk, he founded the Tolkien Lecture in 2013.
Gabriel Schenk spent his childhood pretending to be a knight, dreaming up fantasy worlds, and trying to get into Narnia. He completed his DPhil in English at Pembroke College in 2014, analysing different versions of King Arthur in literature, from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. He started the Tolkien lecture series with Will Badger in 2013, after finding out that nothing had hitherto commemorated Tolkien’s twenty years at the college.
Growing up in Chicago, Illinois in a pre-Veronica Roth/Divergent era, Ariana Zlioba read lots of fantasy stories set in a faraway, whimsical place called England. Many years later, she decided to go see what all the fuss was about, and is now a 2nd year MPhil student in Comparative Government at Pembroke. If you see her wandering the streets of Oxford, lost in thought, she is either thinking about U.S. county politics or any number of the book-to-screen adaptations Hollywood has mangled beyond recognition.