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Letter to John Higgins

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On 20 April 1973, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a letter to John Higgins (then Arts Editor of The Times).[1]

  • Subject: A reply to a request for Tolkien to take part in a literary jury.

[edit] Transcription

Dear Mr. Higgins

I do look sympathetically on your project, but I am afraid that it is not possible for me to accept your invitation to join the jury.

So far from being “eighty one but not in a hurry”, the conflict of my desperate efforts to continue writing with the pressure of my affairs, and with the disasters and grief of my private life, brought me to the edge of a breakdown. Since January I have been under medical care, with strict orders as to diet, and hours of work — which I have to confine to one object: the attempt to complete at least a part of my unfinished works while I have the health and energy left.

Forgive the delay in this reply. I have been away from Oxford, to which I return next week.

Yours sincerely
J.R.R. Tolkien


  1. "A Rare Tolkienian Treasure (#23244 and related messages)" dated 5 September 2012, MythSoc mailing list (accessed 8 September 2012)