Free Welsh Course for Tolkien fans at ‘Festival in the Shire’ 2010

Fans of Tolkien will be gathering in Machynlleth in mid-Wales next year for the eagerly-awaited ‘Festival in the Shire’, a celebration of the Welsh influences on the author of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. They won’t just be treated to special guests and rare collections, though – for the first time ever, festival attendees will also be offered free access to a 14 hour mp3-based Welsh language course. Tolkien based his High Elvish language Sindarin on Welsh structures and sounds, and the popular, ground-breaking will offer Tolkien lovers the opportunity to learn a surprising amount of this ancient tongue in a very short amount of time.

‘We are delighted to support this important new festival,’ says Aran Jones, co-founder of, ‘and we hope we’ll be able to offer a perfect opportunity for Tolkien fans visiting Wales to experience for themselves the sheer beauty of the language which had such a powerful effect on the soundscape of the Lord of the Rings.’

‘This is the perfect match for the festival,’ says Mark Faith, the Machynlleth book dealer responsible for organising the Festival in the Shire. ‘We have internationally renowned speakers who will be looking at the lasting impact Wales and the Welsh language had on Tolkien, and we can now promise our attendees that they will have the opportunity to enjoy getting a real taste for the language themselves, at zero cost!’ is a 14 hour aural course distributed via mp3 files which can be listened to online or downloaded to be played at home or on mp3 players. Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly, and Robin McBryde, forwards coach of the Welsh rugby team, are two of several prominent Patrons of the course, which has over 6000 learners from all around the world and a popular online forum.

The Festival in the Shire will take place in Y Plas country house and grounds in Machynlleth from 13th to the 15th of August 2010, with a wide range of events for serious conference goers and also for more casual fans and families. More information is available at, including a list of special guests and well-known collectors who will be exhibiting at the festival.