John Garths journalism
Selected press features, interviews, news and comment

The workers return, article on what lay in store for homecoming soldiers after the Armistice in 1918, for Unite the Union’s uniteWorks winter 2018/2019 issue, December 2018.

‘A once-in-a-generation event’ – I review the Bodleian Library exhibition Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth for the Sunday Telegraph, 2 June 2019.

Oxford, heritage and conflict. Why Oxford archaeologists dream of seeing the Palmyra Arch rebuilt by Syrians. February 2018. Long-form feature heading a suite of articles on Oxford's wide-ranging heritage projects:
Oxford and Britain’s heritage sector.
Unlocking the world’s oldest mystery script.
Please touch the art.
Digging into Oxford’s past.
Why I used sheep entrails to predict the Trump era.

Oxford and the mosquito: If world health chiefs don’t listen we’ll see a new pandemic, warns top malaria expert. Longform feature on multifaceted work by the university, Medium, 6 October 2017. With four supporting articles:
Acoustic mosquito detector to aid campaign against tropical diseases.
How prehistoric humans spread malaria across the globe.
How Oxford is broadening the battlefront against tropical disease.
Other mosquito-borne diseases.

The man who brings Tolkien to life. I interview Oscar-winning artist Alan Lee about his work on Beren and Lúthien, the Peter Jackson movies, and other career highlights, Telegraph Review section, 27 May 2017.

The making of the Oxford English Dictionary, interview with Peter Gilliver, author of the landmark history, Oxford Today, 24 October 2016 (also in Trinity 2017 print issue, p50).

Catch a virus, kill a cancer: The new world of virotherapy, Oxford Today, 23 May (also in the Trinity 2017 print issue, p20).

The drone inspired by a dragonfly, Oxford Today, 8 February 2017 (also in the Trinity 2017 print issue, p17).

Visions of paradise reveal unknown vistas of history, Oxford Today, 24 February 2017 (also in the Trinity 2017 print issue, p19).

The birth of a legend, article on Tolkien at Exeter College for the college’s Exon magazine (pdf), 13 August 2015.

Root and branch, interview with David Leake, the extraordinary gardener of one of Oxford’s most extraordinary college gardens, at Corpus Christi; Oxford Today, 16 March 2015. A slightly shorter version was printed in the preceding print issue of Oxford Today, 16 October 2014 (pdf, pp. 60–61).

Rites of passage: student experiences abroad – singing at the Sorbonne, particle physics at CERN . . . and building loos in Cambodia. Oxford Today, 20 February 2015. Also at Oxford University’s Annual Review.

I interview Tim Severin about his famous ‘Brendan Voyage’ across the Atlantic in a replica sixth-century leather boat, and about his first adventure: retracing Marco Polo’s route to China – on a motorbike with Boris Johnson’s dad. Oxford Today, 22 December 2014.

Tolkien’s death of Smaug: American inspiration revealed, in the Guardian (9 December 2014) and South China Morning Post (20 December 2014).

Tolkien and Oxford, article in German for TV magazine Arte, 28 November 2014.

Fire, Fawkes and fisticuffs, Oxford Today, 5 November 2014.

China’s new long march: 80 years after Mao set out, what lies ahead for a nation he would barely recognise? Interview with the director of Oxford’s China Centre, Oxford Today, 17 October 2014.

Recovering Hydra: how my Tolkien research led me to discover historic lost issues of a Great War magazine edited by Wilfred Owen – Oxford Today, 6 October 2014. A fuller account in the Wilfred Owen Association Journal, 2014 issue 2 (September), and in Oxfordshire Limited Edition (Oxford Times), 12 June, can be read at my blog.

Birth of a new world: the Tolkien poem that marks the genesis of Middle-earth: On the centenary of Middle-earth, I outline the results of a full-scale investigation I’ve written for Tolkien Studies 11. The Guardian, 24 September 2014 — a widely read piece shared more than 62,000 times via social media.

Centenary celebration of Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins. Daily Beast, 9 August 2014.

Articles on the First World War focusing on workers who went to war, the Red Clydeside agitation over living and working conditions, women, war and the work revolution, agricultural workers, and the changing balance of power. UniteLive, 4–8 August 2014.

29 July 2014: Why World War One Is at the heart of Lord of the Rings – for The Fellowship of the Ring’s 60th anniversary. Daily Beast, 29 July 2014. Also in Portuguese.

Why your grandchildren may work as hard as you – or even harder. Oxford Today, 14 July 2014.

I talk to a scientist whose work is inspired by the heart disease that runs in his family. Oxford Today, 11 July.

An exploration of Oxford’s new Story Museum, Oxford Today, 15 May 2014.

Why the explosion in migration studies? Oxford Today, 16 April 2014.

Interviews with noteworthy university alumni (‘My Oxford’) including writer and comedian Ruby Wax, Foreign Office Foreign Policy Counsellor in Washington Jennifer Cole OBE, British ambassador to Mexico Judith Macgregor, writer and polemicist Naomi Wolf, Pulitzer prize-winner Siddhartha Mukherjee, Olympic modern pentathlon gold medallist Stephanie Cook, Olympic rowing gold medallist Andrew Triggs Hodge, and Reuters editor-at-large Chrystia Freeland. In Oxford Today, 2011–14.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf: bring on the monsters — preview feature on Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf and his story The Sellic Spell. The Guardian, 22 March 2014.

Report on the JFK anniversary talk by biographers Randall Woods and Godfrey Hodgson at Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute, 25 November 2013.

Appreciation of artist and friend Pauline Baynes – guest column at JJ Books, 20 November 2013.

President Kennedy, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley – mortality and immortality. Long-form feature to mark the 50th anniversary of their deaths, at the Daily Beast, 3 November 2013, with a shorter feature at Oxford Today published on 16 October 2013.

Battle of the Somme: the ‘animal horror’ that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien, in the Sunday Telegraph’s First World War supplement, 6 October 2013.

Interview with Newbery medallist Susan Cooper on her new novel Ghost Hawk, in The Daily Beast, 31 August 2013.

The OED unbound, interview with John Simpson, chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary from 1993 to 2013, in Blueprint, July 2013. Read here, or download the issue free.

John Garth interviewing Aung San Suu Kyi

Interviewing Aung San Suu Kyi (Photo: Joby Sessions)

Major feature on the Bodleian Library’s Magical Books summer 2013 exhibition, incorporating interviews with Carnegie-winning author Alan Garner and Newbery Medal winner Susan Cooper. In The Times (subscribers only) and at Oxford Today.

For the greater good, on the work of Oxford University's pro bono lawyers, in Blueprint, May 2013 (download).

The Storyteller, landmark interview with Alan Garner in Oxford Today, Trinity 2013.

Beatnik Girl, interview with Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price, also in Oxford Today, Trinity 2013.

Report on the Oxford Literary Festival for Oxford Today, featuring Alister McGrath on C.S. Lewis and Lucy Hughes-Hallett on her Samuel Johnson Prize-winning biography of proto-fascist Gabriele D’Annunzio, March 2013.

Arsenic and old feathersArsenic and old feathers, on investigations into historical pesticide use at Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum, and A garden of chemical delights, showcasing an audio trail at the Botanic Garden, in Blueprint, October and November 2013 (pdf).

Interviews with Burma Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, biographer Michael Korda, and billionaire philanthropist Michael Moritz, in Oxford Today, Michaelmas 2012.

Obama again? Guide to the 2012 US elections through the eyes of four Members of Congress, Oxford Today, Trinity 2012.

America’s Oxford home, profile of the Rothermere American Institute, Blueprint, March 2012 (pdf).

Interview with author Prajwal Parajuly on his book deal for The Gurkha’s Daughter and Land Where I Flee, in Oxford Today, Hilary 2012.

Oxford and the Olympics, a curious history, Oxford Today, Hilary 2011. Read...

The making of an exhibition, behind the scenes at the Ashmolean Museum, Blueprint, November 2011 (pdf).

Bluff, guile and swagger, interview with Sir Tommy Macpherson, a special ops commando during the Second World War and Britain's most decorated living soldier, in Oxford Today, Hilary 2011.

Obituary of Paul Newman, MailOnline, 27 September 2008.

Articles on the D-Day secret weapon the Great Panjandrum, the 1942 arrest of a German spy that saved the Allied invasion of North Africa, the cockatoo that entertained Churchill, and many other items for MailOnline, 2008 to 2010 (some listed here).

From page to stage, mini-review of the Lord of the Rings musical at London’s Theatre Royal, Evening Standard, 18 May 2007. Reprinted in The Scotsman, 1 June 2007, as It’s a hard hobbit to break – the expert’s verdict. Read...

Triumph of the Tolkien Magic, op-ed, Evening Standard, 12 December 2003. Appeared as ‘No more Tolkien gestures’, The Scotsman, 15 December 2003. Read...

Tolkien fantasy was born in trenches of the Somme, Evening Standard, 13 December 2001. Read…

News, features and reviews for the Hendon & Finchley Times and the Edgware & Mill Hill Times, 1989 to 1993.

The Worlds of
J.R.R. Tolkien

UK hardback
John Garth – The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien

US hardback
John Garth – The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien

To buy in French, Russian, Czech, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, Hungarian, German, or another language
see links here

Tolkien and
the Great War

UK paperback/ebook
John Garth Writer Tolkien And The Great War

US paperback/ebook
Tolkien and the Great War HMH

Audiobook read by
John Garth

Amazon UK, Audible UK,
Audible US

To buy in Italian, German, French, Spanish or Polish,
see links here

Tolkien at
Exeter College

Garth, Tolkien at Exeter College

© John Garth 2006