Tolkien says he's finally left grandfather's shadow

Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:55am EDT
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By Mark Egan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Until he reached the age of 40, Simon Tolkien was sure of one thing; he could not write.

After all, his late grandfather J.R.R. Tolkien, famed for "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit," was the author in the family, and he was a London criminal barrister.

"The one thing I knew from a very early age was I can't write," Tolkien told Reuters in an interview to promote his second novel, "The Inheritance," published this week by Minotaur Books.

"We all knew my grandfather was this amazing man who could speak all these languages and do these amazing things; the professor," he said.

Living in the shadow of such a literary titan kept the younger Tolkien from even considering trading in his wig and gown for writing.

But as he turned 40 in 1999 and then with the hype ahead of the 2001 release of the Peter Jackson-directed blockbuster movie, "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," he had something of a mid-life crisis and decided to write.

"I wanted to create something," he said, adding that he found being a barrister stressful.

Tolkien wrote a novel, which was rejected. He found a publisher for his second effort "Final Witness," published in the United States in 2002.   Continued...

<p>The cover of author Simon Tolkien's second novel, "The Inheritance," published this week by Minotaur Books. REUTERS/Macmillan/Handout</p>