Tolkien’s Successor


One of the major literary stars to have visited the book fair is the American author of sci-fi and fantasy novels Tad Williams.

His books Memory, Sorrow and Thorn have become worldwide bestsellers and his work is often likened to Tolkien - Tad Williams is even sometimes called his successor. This is not a coincidence. Tolkien is one of Williams' all-time favourite authors and one of the reasons why he started writing in the first place. He was dissatisfied with the many authors who were trying to emulate Tolkien's work rather than draw inspiration from it. "They don't try to understand, they don't look for what exactly it is he was trying to say and why he wrote some of the things the way he wrote them," he explained. His own works, while based on Tolkien's literary heritage, find their own points of departure. The fact that he attempted to understand rather than copy his role model may have been one of the secrets to his success. 

When asked how a fantasy world is born in his mind, he explained that it is not a simple process wherein he would simply sit at the computer and start writing. "I walk, I look around a lot, I think. It takes time before a world appears in my mind and only then I'm ready to write it on paper." He looks for his dramatic plots in the real world. "I found it interesting that the mighty empires ruled by strong kings or leaders fall apart after they die. In history I can think of Charlemagne or Alexander the Great. This is the topic I found interesting and drew my inspiration from," he explained. During his debate with Book World visitors, Tad also reminisced on his first published book. "When somebody tells you for the very first time that your book is really going to get published, it is a major event in your life, an exciting experience. But as years pass and you publish more and more you realise that writing has turned into a career for you and that much of your initial enthusiasm has disappeared. I'm trying to fight against this. I've been writing for thirty years and I can tell you that I really enjoy it. I also enjoy travelling around the world and meeting my readers and I'm very happy to be here at Book World." And there are many Tad Williams fans in the Czech Republic indeed - the book signing attracted a queue that went all the way around the Central Hall.