John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3rd January 1892 in Bloemfontein.
After serving in the First World War, Tolkien embarked upon a distinguished academic career and was recognised as one of the finest philologists in the world.
He is, however, best known as the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.
His books have been translated into more than 40 languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
He was awarded a CBE, and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University in 1972. He died in 1973 at the age of 81.