Thomas Alan Shippey (born 9 September 1943) is a scholar of medieval literature, including that of Anglo-Saxon England, medievalism, and of modern fantasy and science fiction, in particular the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, about whom he has written several scholarly studies. He is widely considered one of the leading academic scholars on Tolkien. Shippey retired from the Walter J. Ong Chair of Humanities at Saint Louis University's College of Arts and Sciences in 2008.
His work and life cross paths in many ways with that of Tolkien; like Tolkien, he attended King Edward's School in Birmingham and taught Old English at Oxford University. He occupied Tolkien's former chair at the University of Leeds.
Under the pseudonym of "Tom Allen" he has written two stories that were published in anthologies edited by Peter Weston. The first published was the fantasy story "King, Dragon" in Andromeda 2 in 1977; the second was the science fiction novelette "Not Absolute" in Andromeda 3 in 1978.
In addition to writing books of his own, he has edited both The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories, and The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories. From 2003 to 2007, he served as the editor of the journal Studies in Medievalism. He serves on the editorial board of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, and he reviews science fiction for the Wall Street Journal.
Academic career 
After Shippey's graduation in the early 1960s, he did not immediately start an academic career since the British economy of the time did not offer many jobs. Only in the mid-1960s he enrolled at the University of Cambridge. In late 1969 or early 1970, he wrote his first academic work on Tolkien. Shippey then held a speech at a Tolkien day organised by a student association. This lecture, "Tolkien as philologist" became also influential for Shippey's view of Tolkien. Joy Hill, Tolkien's private secretary, was in the audience and afterwards she asked him for the script, for Tolkien to read. On 13 April 1970, Shippey received a seemingly formal letter from Tolkien.
The two, Shippey and Tolkien, first met in 1972. Shippey was invited for dinner by Norman Davis who had succeeded Tolkien at the Merton Chair of English Language. When he became a Fellow of St. John's College, Shippey taught Old and Middle English using Tolkien's syllabus.
Shippey's first printed essay, "Creation from Philology in The Lord of the Rings", expanded on his 1970 lecture. In 1979, he was elected into a former position of Tolkiens, the Chair of English Language and Medieval English Literature at Leeds University. His first book, The Road to Middle-earth, was published in 1982. At this time, Shippey shifted from regarding Tolkien as a philologist to a "traumatised author" as he called it. This would include writers affected by war like Vonnegut and Golding.
14 years later, Shippey was given the Walter J. Ong Chair of Humanities at Saint Louis University, he focussed on academic teaching, research and publishing. From 2003 to 2009, he was the President of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism.
Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings 
As an acknowledged expert on Tolkien, Shippey appeared in several documentaries about Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The dialect coaches were assisted by him and Shippey received a personal mention in the closing credits. He summarised his experiences with the film project as follows:
"The funny thing about interviews is you never know which bits they're going to pick. It always feels as if they sit you down, shine bright lights in your eyes, and ask you questions until you say something really silly, and that's the bit they choose. At least they didn't waterboard me. But it was good fun, and I'd cheerfully do it again."
- Old English Verse (London: Hutchinson's, 1972)
- Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, Ltd., 1976; 2nd ed., 1977)
- Beowulf. Arnold's Studies in English Literature series (London, 1978).
- The Road to Middle-earth (London: Allen & Unwin, 1982; Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983), 2nd ed. (London: Harper Collins, 1993), also Revised and Expanded edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003)
- Fictional Space : Essays on Contemporary Science Fiction, Editor (Oxford : Basil Blackwell, 1991, ISBN 0-631-17129-0).
- The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories, Editor (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-19-214204-6).
- The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories , Editor (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1994 ISBN 0-19-214216-X).
- J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (London: Harper Collins, 2000; Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2001)
- Roots and Branches: Selected Papers on Tolkien (Zurich and Berne: Walking Tree Publishers, Cormarë Series 11, 2007, ISBN 978-3-905703-05-4)
Edited Volumes 
- Medievalism in the Modern World. Essays in Honour of Leslie J. Workman. Ed. Richard Utz and Tom Shippey (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998), ISBN 2-503-50166-4.
- 1992: Tolkien Remembered - Himself
- 1996: J.R.R.T.: A Film Portrait of J.R.R. Tolkien - Himself
- 1998: An Awfully Big Adventure: J.R.R. Tolkien - Himself
- 2001: Beyond the Movie: The Fellowship of the Ring - Himself
- 2002: Page to Screen: The Lord of the Rings - Himself
- 2003: J.R.R. Tolkien: Origins of Middle-Earth - Himself
- 1984 - Mythopoeic Award, Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inkling Studies, The Road to Middle-earth
- 2001 - Mythopoeic Award, Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inkling Studies, J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
- 2001 - World Fantasy Award, Special Award Professional, J.R.R. Tolkien:Author of the Century
- 2004 - The One Ring Celebration Award, Best Tolkien based Lecture presented at an Academic Function, History in Words, Tolkien's Ruling Passion
- 2006 - The One Ring Celebration Award, Best Lecture/Paper
- William G. Contento, Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections
- Blish, James (October 2009). Flights of Eagles (1st ed.). NESFA Press. ISBN 978-1-886778-86-3.
- Shippey's WSJ reviews
- Hanley, Paul (8 February 2008). "Let us introduce you to ... Thomas Shippey, Ph.D.". The University News.
- Tom Shippey (2003). "Preface to the Third Edition". The Road to Middle-earth. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- White, Claire E. "Talking Tolkien With Thomas Shippey".
- Tom Shippey at the Internet Movie Database
- "Transcript of chat session with Pr. Tom Shippey during The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun Online Release Party (09.05.09) - comments (1)". Tolkien Library. Pieter Collier.
- Tom Shippey page at Saint Louis University
- Tom Shippey at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- at the