The Tolkien Mailing Competition ("TLV" abbreviated from its Hungarian equivalent "Tolkien Levelező Verseny") takes place for the 18th time this year—and it is international for the 11th time. In the first years it was organised only in Hungarian, and only for groups of Hungarian students aged 10–18-years. As many people above this age group became interested in the competition, we launched a separate category for individuals in Hungarian, and at the same time we decided to go international. The outcome was definitely encouraging. In the past few years the international Quendi category had many participants (and for a while even an organiser) from various foreign countries: you can check out our bilingual blog to see their works and also the results of the previous competitions.
In the international Quendi category both the challenges and the communication will be entirely in English—but you don't have to be fluent in English for taking part in the competition. You only have to be able to understand the texts by Tolkien, and maybe to write a story or an essay—it does not have to be of university level. The competition was originally devised for middle and high school students, and we did not make big changes in the style, but it is open to anybody who feels young enough for it. You can always choose to count your years by Elvish standards!
Participation in the Quendi category requires a thorough knowledge of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Other works by Tolkien may be needed occasionally, as some questions (riddles, quizzes, etc.) can refer to those, but you will have about four weeks for each round, that is, plenty of time to look up in the books everything you might need.
There will also be some creative challenges. For example, you may be asked to describe a situation, write a short poem, make a drawing or take a photograph, etc. We would like to be proud of our participants, so we ask you to share the rights of your creative productions royalty-free (and you accept this condition by your registration for the competition). The best of your works—with due credit to authors/artists—might be published by the Hungarian Tolkien Society, e.g. on our website, www.tolkien.hu, or in our journal, Lassi Laurië. (The last issue of which is boasting a TLV Quendi solution on the front page!) Please do not publish these works yourself without consulting us first, and especially not before the end of the competition. (Artwork submitted by teams is credited as teamwork by default, but you can add the name of the actual author/artist for each piece.)
You can participate in the Quendi category alone as an individual competitor, or you can participate as a member of a team of 2–5 people. The individual competitors and the teams will receive the same set of tasks, but the winner will be announced separately for individuals and teams.
As an individual competitor, you can make the decision to solve only the quizzes or only the creative tasks in each round: besides the absolute winners of the individual and team subcategories, the separate winners of the lexical and the creative parts will also be announced. This choice is only available for individual competitors, teams are expected to do the full version!
The team competition is a new, experimental thing in the international category this year (although it is the original, traditional version in Hungarian). We will only go on with this option, if we receive at least 5 applications from teams. (We have already received the necessary 5 team applications, so do not be afraid to join their ranks!) If we have to cancel the team competition, team members will have the opportunity to compete on their own or to withdraw their application. There is also a maximum limit of 60 for the number of participants in this category, but the number of applications were far below this limit in all previous years.
The contest starts in November and continues until April. Every month you will receive the questions of the next round, and you will have to submit your solutions until the indicated deadline. Communication will be via e-mail. Our e-mail address is tlv[at]tolkien.hu. Questions and comments are always welcome. We are happy to answer all your questions about the competition—except disclosing the solutions of the actual tasks.
Not submitting your solutions for two consecutive rounds means quitting the competition.
There will be no prizes in the international category, only the public announcement of your achievement and a certificate sent by e-mail. There is no registration fee, either.
If you want to participate, please fill in this online registration form.
Registration as an individual competitor: choose the “I am competing alone.” option on the form.
Registration as a team: each team member should fill in a registration form separately, choose the “I am a member of a team of 2-5 people.” option, and provide the same team name. We also need a contact person for each team. Please agree on a unique team name and choose a contact person from the team before starting the registration.
You should receive the automatic confirmation of the successful registration via e-mail. If you do not receive such e-mail, ask the organisers whether they have received your registration or not!
The application deadline is:
22 October, 2023
5 November, 2023
Are you wondering what to expect from this competition, what it could be like?
You can check out two task sheets from previous years here: