Bree & Beyond: Exploring the Fantasy Worlds of

J.R.R. Tolkien

and His Fellow Travelers

 

Bree Moot 4 & Mythcon XXX

July 30-Aug. 2, 1999

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

 

Contact: David Lenander

293 Selby Avenue

Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102-1811

d-lena@tc.umn.edu (651)292-8887

 

July 5, 1999

illustration by Sylvia Hunnewell, used by permission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TOLKIEN FANS CONVERGE ON MILWAUKEE

What brings fantasy readers from all over the country and around the world to Milwaukee? For the second time Wisconsin Tolkien and Fantasy literature fans have succeeded in bringing the annual conference of the Mythopoeic Society to Milwaukee, this time combining with the convention of the readers of the Tolkien fan publication, Beyond Bree. Mythcon XXX (30) and Bree Moot 4, Bree & Beyond, will convene on Friday afternoon, July 30, and conclude on Monday, August 2 at the Archbishop Cousins Conference Center. As in 1987, Mythcon has been attracted to the manuscripts for J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Farmer Giles of Ham -all at the Marquette University library.

Conference organizers will be arranging special visits to the Tolkien collection, and national Tolkien scholars, including conference Guest of Honor, Douglas A. Anderson, editor of The Annotated Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Verlyn Flieger, author of two outstanding books on Tolkien and receipient of the 1998 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award, John Rateliff, who is under contract to write the definitive "History of the writing of The Hobbit," and conference Chair Richard West (UW-Madison), author of A Checklist of Tolkien Criticism, will read papers and speak on panels, noting the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham. Along with the usual scholarly papers read at Mythcons, there will be plenty of programs oriented to the Tolkien fan and general fantasy readers. Fantasy authors P.C. Hodgell, Anthony Swithen and Mythopoeic Fantasy Award winner Eleanor Arnason are expected to read from or talk about their works. Conference members are invited to join in discussions of classic and new works in the Fantasy genre, show off their costumes, perform in comic skits, and participate in the traditional evening "Bardic Circles" when members tell their own stories, or recite favorite poetry, or sing traditional folk songs or "filk-songs:" (made-up and often silly lyrics to familiar melodies parodying and celebrating the worlds and characters of Tolkien's and other writers' stories).

The rich fan and reader tradition of Bree Moot will be discussed by Guest of Honor Gary Hunnewell, historian of the many fan activities and collector of their publications ("fanzines") pioneered by Tolkien fans in the '60s campus craze, and continued today in web-pages and electronic discussion lists, where the most eagerly anticipated fantasy motion picture in the next millennium must be the currently filming Lord of the Rings from New Line Cinema-forget about Star Wars. More than fifty million readers are still waiting for a convincing film version of Tolkien's new, living "myth." The readers attending Mythcon/Bree Moot will be exploring ways that Tolkien's myth has become their own, shaping their lives and views, enabling them to see their lives and this world anew, and challenging them to make their own, personal myths, or in Tolkien's phrase, "sub-creations."

The art show at Mythcon/Bree Moot will feature the work of the third Guest of Honor, Sylvia Hunnewell, illustrator of many of those fanzines to be discussed by her spouse. Also on display will be some of the work of Ted Nasmith, whose paintings have appeared in recent Tolkien Calendars and last year's deluxe illustrated The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, from Houghton-Mifflin. Artwork and many fantasy collectibles will be available for purchase in the conference dealers' room and auction. The annual Mythopoeic Fantasy and Scholarship Awards will be announced following a banquet on August 1. Although there will be at least one almost-continuous track of Tolkien programming throughout the conference, there will also be program items, papers, panel discussions, and slide presentations on other authors and subjects, such as Kenneth Morris, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, "Fantasy themes in non-fantasy cinema," "King Arthur Lite," Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass, Sherri Tepper's Fantasy fiction, "Dinosaur Fiction," P.C. Hodgell, Eleanor Arnason, Lord Dunsany and Ursula K. Le Guin. At-the-door registration will be $60; $50 in advance, until July 15.

Since 1967 The Mythopoeic Society has celebrated fantasy literature and its regular discussion, emulating the example of the Inklings, an Oxford University discussion group of the 1930s and 40s, which included J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams and Owen Barfield, though local discussion groups, scattered about the U.S.; a tri-quarterly journal of literary studies, Mythlore; a monthly newsletter, Mythprint; a fiction annual, Mythic Circle; an annual Conference; the Mythopoeic Fantasy and Scholarship Awards and recently, a webpage. The Milwaukee area discussion group is The Burrahobbits, contacts are Jeffrey & Jan Long, 1903 N. 118th St., Wauwatosa, WI 53226. The Mythopoeic Society web-page is at http://www.mythsoc.org/mythsoc.html Beyond Bree is the monthly newsletter of the Tolkien Special Interest Group of American Mensa. In recent years, its readers have organized a series of Bree Moots, reader-oriented conventions celebrating the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Previous Bree Moots have been in Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota.


Bree Moot was started by readers of Beyond Bree, a monthly newsletter for Tolkien fans, sponsored by the Tolkien Special Interest Group (of American Mensa). Bree Moot 4 is combined with the thirtieth annual Mythopoeic Conference, sponsored by The Mythopoeic Society. Here's a brief article by Beyond Bree editor Nancy Martsch.

The Mythopoeic Society is an educational and literary association devoted to the study, discussion, creation and enjoyment of fantasy in the traditions of the Inklings, especially Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams.

Here's a version of the registration form: print this off and fill it out!

Bree Moot was started by readers of Beyond Bree, a monthly newsletter for Tolkien fans.

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