Some weeks ago we had a look back at the last year in the article the best Tolkien books of 2007. Now it is time to look ahead and see what new publications we can expect this year. Like last year I contacted David Brawn, the publishing director of Harper Collins, to get some more information. This year I have chosen to work out a small overview in chronological order instead of just giving a transcript of the Q&A.
This year seems at first less exciting then 2007, yet there are some nice books coming up! I’m very excited about one book, which you will find out further down in this article.
TL: March will bring us some fine paperbacks to match the black History of Middle-earth series. I am thinking about The History of the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion. Are these new editions? I mean will there be done any corrections in the text and maybe some additions?
DB: I am afraid I cannot tell you much about the new editions other than what you presumably have read already. The Lord of the Rings Reader's Companion, Mr Baggins and The Return to Bag-End are straightforward paperbacks of the hardbacks. A few minor errors have been corrected, but the books are largely unchanged from their hardback versions.
TL: April seems to be the month of the paperback editions as well, this time with illustrations by Alan Lee. Which books will appear in paperback and can we also expect boxed sets to appear? Is the release date of these Alan Lee paperbacks picked to commemorate the 2007 release of The Children of Hurin?
DB: The paperback editions of The Children of Hurin, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the latter being the first time these books have appeared in a popular paperback format, contain all the content of the hardbacks (i.e. Hurin and Hobbit have the pencil drawings as well as the color plates), though none of them contain anything specifically new. As usual, the covers are all being changed a little from those initially released, as they were just put together quickly for pre-sale. None of these paperbacks are being released in boxed sets. The books are being released at the same time because of the Alan Lee connection, but you can also expect The Silmarillion by Ted Nasmith to be published in this paperback format later in the year, alongside his Silmarillion calendar and diary for 2009.
TL: TOLKIEN ON FAIRY-STORIES by Verlyn Flieger and Douglas A. Anderson looks to be a new hardback edition we should look forward to. It reminds me of the extended edition of Smith of Wootton Major. Will it match this edition in print, size and quality?
I also read there would be some unpublished material by Tolkien inside this book, is this correct? When can we expect this book to be released?
DB: Tolkien on Fairy-Stories is an exciting new book for collectors, and is the same hardback size as Smith of Wootton Major but will be a substantially longer book. We have just received the manuscript, and it is more than 100,000 words. It does indeed contain unpublished JRRT material, as well as extensive notes. The book will be published in June.
TL: It must be for sure that there are other books coming out this year... For example this year it was 40 years ago that The Road Goes Ever on was released and 10 years ago we saw the publication of Roverandom. I also read that we will get a new edition of Tales from the Perilous Realm: Roverandom and Other Classic Faery Stories in September. Can we expect anything there?
Looking towards the autumn, we have not yet decided about books like The Road Goes Ever On, or what to do this year with Letters from Father Christmas. But the flagship book this year will be The Tales from the Perilous Realm, planned to be the definitive reading edition of Roverandom (10 years since publication), Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf By Niggle, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and Smith of Wootton Major. It will have some interesting new features, which are still being finalized, but I can tell you that Alan Lee is painting the cover, which is looking amazing!
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