The organisers have recently been made aware that several misconceptions have sprung up about the way in which the 2003 awards were organised and conducted. In an attempt to clear up these misconceptions, the following notes explain the actual situation.
We regret that misconceptions have spread, and apologise for the fact that this information hasn't been made publicly available before now.
It's been widely assumed that the Mithril Awards are associated with the Henneth Annūn Yahoo-list or archive. We cannot stress too highly that the awards are entirely independent of any archive, list, group, board or community, whether online or offline. While the original discussions were held on the Henneth Annūn list, they moved at a very early stage to a focused Mithril Awards discussion list.
The fact that the Henneth Annūn Story Archive prominently displays Mithril Award buttons has tended to promote this misconception. In fact, several other archives also display the buttons, and any archive hosting an award-winning story is very welcome to put up a button. We're happy to provide buttons to archive administrators on request.
We'd envisaged receiving a maximum of around 150 to 200 nominated works. In the event, the response from Tolkien fans far exceeded our expectations, and a total of 599 works were nominated. A couple of problems rapidly became apparent:
- A few authors were found to have solicited nominations for their works, either on lists/boards or at the website where the work was archived, and these works had to be removed from consideration.
- Once proven cases of nomination solicitation had been discounted, remarkably few works were found to have received more than two or three nominations in a particular category; in fact, the great majority of works received only a single nomination. After screening had eliminated clearly unsuitable works, works receiving multiple nominations were not sufficient to provide finalists in any category. The finalists in each category therefore represent all suitable works that received multiple nominations, as well as the best works which received a single nomination.
The problem of nomination solicitation encountered during the 2003 awards has made us reconsider the link between number of nominations and shortlisting for the 2004 round, and this is currently under discussion.
The problems in assessing the quality of an incomplete work meant that we decided to exclude WiPs from the 2003 awards. Many authors organise their writing in serials: a series of stories set in the same universe and often with the same characters, in which each component story is complete and stands alone. As each story is complete it can be judged in isolation, and so we decided to allow these to be entered.
What we didn't bargain on, however, was the difficulty in assessing whether a given nominated work fits into the category of WiP or serial! Three works caused particular difficulties, 'Captain My Captain' by Isabeau of Greenlea, 'Magda's Tale' by Meg Thornton and 'History of Us' by Daisy Gamgee. In all three cases we decided, after considerable discussion, to include them. These decisions were taken because the material available appeared to the committee members who moderated the categories to stand alone sufficiently to allow judging. In retrospect, this might not have been the wisest of decisions. It should be stressed that the committee members in question based their decisions entirely on the quality of the works and the number of nominations from fans that they received. In no case was the committee member involved personally acquainted with the author, either online or offline.
Ways to avoid this confusion for the 2004 awards are currently under discussion, but it is likely that individual stories in a serial may have to be excluded from consideration in the main awards.
Eledhwen, Janet Elizabeth, Khazar & Tavia
16 January 2004
599 different works were nominated by 446 fans, many in multiple categories, with 1886 nominations in all. A total of 490 fans placed their vote in one or more categories of the Voters' Choice: 414 in Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, 246 in The Silmarillion, 369 in General, 306 in Het & 340 in Slash.
What went right
- 446 nominators and 490 voters in the Voters'
Choice suggests a reasonably high level of
- A large and varied panel of judges was recruited
- Results were announced on time
- The winners in all categories were excellent
What went less well
- We substantially underestimated the number of
nominated works (599 compared with 150 to 200
- We substantially underestimated the amount of
effort involved in a number of different tasks,
especially screening stories, organising judges
and running the web interface
- Number of nominations did not prove to be simply
linked with quality of story
- In nearly all categories, screening by
eliminating clearly unsuitable material did not
reduce the shortlists to manageable proportions
- Screening for categories using predominantly one
person per category unavoidedly introduced some
- The public perception of the awards, in some
quarters at least, appears to be that they are
linked with the HA list and HASA archive
- We failed to get sufficient interest from
Silmarillion fans in organising the awards,
screening and judging
- In most categories, judges did not agree on the
winning stories/works, so the winners were often
second or third choices
We agreed as a committee that three judges would be ideal
per category, and began advertising well in
advance of the date we anticipated judging would begin.
We asked for people with good knowledge of Tolkien, and
some knowledge of fanfic. We also asked that they let us
know if they had a preference for a particular genre of
The response was good, but not perfect. A couple of
potential judges were regretfully turned aside because,
as minors, they would be unable to judge adult-rated
material. However later on we found them places in a
category with no adult-rated works. A few more potential
judges were turned away because, frankly, their
applications did not show enough attention to detail
(multiple spelling mistakes, lack of enthusiasm,
particularly when compared with the majority of judging
Balancing the categories was the hardest job. Making sure
that the expertise of the judges was spread out over all
categories, that people did get to judge the category
they wanted to, proved extremely difficult. Several
judges ended up judging more than one category, and this
was far from ideal as it meant a lot of work. Other
judges had to pull out soon before judging began, meaning
a hasty search for more.
We ended up asking quite a lot of our judges to
not only read all the shortlisted works in their
categories, but to evaluate them critically, score them
and comment upon them. It was interesting to see how
scores and placings varied. Some categories were
clean-cut. Others showed marked discrepancies in what
people liked. This reinforces the crucial fact that
fanfic, like any other form of art, is intensely
personal. Deciding what is best out of a
group of five vastly differing stories is not easy. It
would of course be lovely to separate each category into
lengths (Best LOTR vignette / Best LOTR
novella / Best LOTR novel) but the work
would be too much. Far too much.
Were very grateful to the judges for their time and
their effort hopefully with another year of
awards, there will be more applicants for these positions
and hence less work. Wed especially welcome
applications from anyone trained in a profession which
evaluates writing teachers, journalists, editors,
and so on.
We received some criticism for compressing the 22
categories into five (Best LOTR/The Hobbit, Best
Silmarillion, Best Het, Best Slash, and Best General) for
the purpose of Voters Choice. Those writing to us
thought that it would have been better to allow the
public to vote in each of the 22 categories. The reason
we did not decide to do this was that we rather fancied
the results would merely resemble initial nominations,
and we also thought that some categories would end up
with very few votes indeed. The decision was not taken
lightly, and it underwent some debate. We wanted an
element of public voting, as it is the fandom that makes
fanfic (and so the Awards) possible this was the
decision we ended up with. Wed be interested to
hear any more thoughts on Voters Choice, and any
possible ways of making it more appealing and more viable
next year. That said, the response was excellent.
When we first floated the idea for a Tolkien Fan Fiction
award, none of us thought it would become as popular as
it hasand we certainly werent expecting it in
the first year. We thought wed get, oh, three or
four entries, and then wed all feel like idiots for
even considering this. Well, we were wrong. And thats
The authors who put their best words forward have no idea
just how competitive the categories can be. In most of
the categories I handled, there were over 50 entries.
That may not sound like many, until you realize that
there were over 50 full-length novels entered. Thats
50 novels that I needed to read, comment on, and scoreall
before category judges saw the finalists.
Unfortunately, we have a limit on the number of
finalists. In most of my categories, there could easily
have been twice as many finalists, and I suspect that the
other admins saw the same thing. There is a tremendous
amount of talent out there, and unfortunately some hard
calls had to be made.
Khazars Lever of Doom, or How to Avoid Having
Your Story Dropped Into the Pit of Rejection and Despair
Alongside my chair is the Lever of Doom. When pulled, it
drops the unfortunate story into the Pit of Rejection,
from which it has no chance of recovery. Its quite
easy to avoid the Lever of Doom. Honest.
Most of the big archivesHenneth Annun, for exampleoffer
a list of betas, people who will help out an
author. If everything had been run past beta readers,
there would have been a whole lot less of the following:
Misspelled character names: Its bad enough
when you mess up a canonical name. But when you misspell
the name of your own OC?
I cant be bothered: As in, I cant be
bothered to check and see if the descriptions I give the
characters match the canonical one. So what if Galadriel
is blond? I want her to be a redhead, so there!
The long goodbye: The rules state, NO WIP. That
means, No Works-In-Progress. At all. Even yours.
Spellcheck idiocy: As in, from and
form. ALWAYS check this before submission. Ill
let a couple of these slide. After that, its clear
that the author doesnt care enough to check. And if
the author doesnt care, why should I?
Fancy, calligraphic fonts: They look great on a
greeting card. Theyre wonderful for the title. But
they are very hard to read, especially when the story
runs for pages. And with this, we also have:
Color my world: Pink text on a yellow background?
Why? WHY?? Your submission should be dark color, light
background. And not all combinations are created equal.
White text superimposed over artwork is difficult to
read. So is yellow on black. Theres a reason that
black on white is the standard.
Art for arts sake: Art is wonderful. It
doesnt belong in a writing contest. Illustrations
do not garner extra points for you. Trust me.
Scripted: Scripts are not acceptable. At all. Why?
Two reasons. First, they require a very specific set of
skills to do well. Secondly, they tend to be an excuse
for a lazy writer to avoid having to learn how to handle
Voices: One of the biggest problems involves
Voice. Gandalf and Sam do not speak alike; it follows
that they do not think alike. Yet many authors treat the
characters as though they were interchangeable, and they
are not. This tendency was especially pronounced with the
This is the end: A story should have a beginning,
a middle, andtheres another partwaitdont
tell mean end. Right? Far too many stories just
petered out, or worse, simply stopped; in one case it was
almost like the author had simply run out of room on the
screen. The ending is the last impression a reader takes
away. If it is haphazard--or worse-- then the whole story
becomes an exercise in futility.
Where are we?: I thought that we were in
Middle-Earth. So why are there references to modern
terms? Why does Frodo need his space?
Anachronisms kill the flow of a story even faster than
Legolas kills orcs.
Viewmaster: Point-of-view is the single most
difficult thing for an author to master. Most people use
what is called the third person omniscient POV: the story
is seen through the eyes of several characters, and there
is an omniscient narrator to describe everything.
(Tolkien used this POV.) The trickiest ones are first
person POV, where everything is described by the
character: I saw Legolas shoot five orcs. It
is hard to write in first-person. The other tricky one is
third person POV. Here the only thing that is described
is what the character knows: He saw the slim blonde
man shooting at some snarling creatures. The
difference is subtle, but important.
Same time, same place: Weve seen the films,
and read the books. So why retell the story we already
know and love? There must be other times that Eomer
killed orcs, not just the day he met up with Aragorn ,
Legolas & Gimli. What does he normally do? Thats
the story I want to read.
Say what?: English grammar and spelling are
tricky. OK, chaotic. But most word processors have
grammar/spell checkers. Use them.
As you can see, its easy to avoid the Pit of
Rejection and Despair. All you have to do is care enough
to check, and recheck, before submitting an entry.
Because, well, lets face it: if the author doesnt
care, why should anyone else?
When we started the Mithril Awards, we had no idea how it
would work out. The quality of writing is greater than
anyone suspected. I have met some wonderful people, who
have been a joy to work with. This has been a fun
experience, one that I hope we can repeat next year.
Perhaps because it is such a tough book to read,
nominated stories in the Silmarillion category proved to
be of an overall much higher quality than in some other
categories. The contest was a close one and the range of
themes wide. However authors continue to find the Tale of
Beren and Luthien especially attractive, and Finrod and
Maedhros are possibly the most popular slash pairing.
These could be themes to avoid they do risk being
overdone. Most Silmarillion stories focus on Elves, yet
some of the most striking works are the ones that feature
Men telling, perhaps. There is precious little
Second Age, and the overall atmosphere is angst, angst
and more angst. To be truly original in writing
Silmarillion fanfic, I would suggest finding the lighter
moments, or writing Second Age stories. This is not to
denigrate the excellent work on the more common themes,
more a suggestion to widen the boundaries of this
sub-genre of Tolkien fanfic.
Best Lord of the Rings
The judges looked for stories that focused on the central
characters and events of The Lord of the Rings, and
especially those which illuminated the themes of the
work. We also sought stories that would form a good
introduction to LotR fanfiction for new readers. This was
a very popular category, with almost one hundred stories
nominated; however, many nominations, including AUs,
OC-focused stories, humour and PWPs, would probably have
been better suited to other categories. Frodo and Sam
were the most popular characters, with a substantial
contingent of stories focusing on Boromir. There were a
high proportion of nominations for stories focusing on
relatively peripheral characters (Faramir, Eomer,
Galadriel, Elrond), while surprisingly few stories
focused on other key members of the Fellowship, such as
Aragorn or Gandalf.
Best The Hobbit
We had disappointingly few nominations in this category
there appears to be a dearth of fanfiction based
on The Hobbit. A great shame, as surely the tale has
plenty of opportunity for new stories: different points
of view, what was happening in other parts of
Middle-earth at that time, what the hobbits thought about
it all ... Few of the entries really captured the childlike
nature of this work, Tolkiens first published
fiction. However the stories that were shortlisted were
great fun to read, as well as being thought provoking.
Much, much more can be written about this period, and
there are so many gaps to fill. I respectfully suggest
next time youre tempted to write another
Legomance post-LOTR, write something based on The Hobbit!
Best Fourth Age and Beyond
Exactly where the Fourth Age starts seems to be a point
of some contention amongst writers. Stories nominated for
this category ranged from ones set in Minas Tirith, just
after the War, to ones set in our own, modern world. The
most popular theme seems to be that of Legolas and Gimlis
enduring friendship, and their crossing Over Sea.
However, somewhat ironically, the winner takes a look
back at the War of the Ring from a future perspective. We
had many excellent entries for this category. Those
shortlisted demonstrated not only a keen sense of what
might have happened during the Fourth Age, but also a
sense of perspective and of history. Some of the entries
that did not reach this stage were far too angsty
(Aragorns death, in particular; or the death of a
member of the Fellowship usually Legolas
featured too many times). The Fourth Age was a new dawn
for Middle-earth, and yet reading some Fourth Age fics,
one would be forgiven for thinking that it was a
horrendous, death-filled era!
Best Alternate Universe/Crossover
Including both alternate universe and crossovers seemed
to make for a rather heterogeneous category. In the
event, however, very few crossovers were nominated (under
ten), and they mainly failed to include enough material
from the Tolkien side of the crossover to be suitable for
an award within the Tolkien fandom. The AU category also
proved particularly problematic to judge. Some
interesting AU stories had such a minor change to canon
that they were more like alternative interpretations of
canon than true AUs. The AU stories nominated also varied
considerably in length and scope, from vignettes
exploring only the immediate consequences of a change, to
extremely long novels which rewrote Tolkiens entire
narrative after the change to canon. The great majority
of stories nominated in this category were based in the
LotR, with Frodo, Sam, Boromir and Aragorn being the most
The Elves fascinate fanfic writers. More precisely,
Legolas fascinates fanfic writers, thanks to Orlando
Bloom, and the vast majority of the fics nominated
concerned Legolas and little else. In judging we looked
for fics that showed something of the timelessness of
Elves, and what makes them different from Men. Something
of the Elven-magic that so entrances Sam in Lothlórien.
But this particular judge would beg of you, the writer,
to find other Elves to write about. Legolas and the
endless gaps in his life that he has to fill are all very
well, but what about the others? Consider, carefully,
what really makes an Elf an Elf. Consider Tolkiens
words about Legolas (He was tall as a young tree,
lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great
war-bow and shoot down a Nazgūl, endowed with the
tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and
resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over
rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the
Fellowship. The Book of Lost Tales 2.) This is a
confident being, immortal and incredible. All Elves are
like this so lets hear about some of the
Men are weak! exclaimed Elrond in the film of
The Fellowship of the Ring, but our shortlisted authors
did not agree. With portraits of Men (and Women) ranging
from Haleth to Faramir, and Ages from First to Fourth,
these stories show some of whats best, and worst,
about our own race. It seems a shame that there is not
more written about Men; we had as many nominations in the
categories of Elves and Hobbits as in this one. Aspiring
Mannish writers could do a lot worse than follow the
examples of the authors here. Naturally Aragorn, Faramir
and Boromir are the favourite Men to write about, with
the Rohirrim running a close second. All in all a fairly
consistent, strong category probably because we do
know Men, and their faults and virtues are ours.
Tolkien created one Fellowship. The winner and runner-up
in this category were both beautifully written, carefully
crafted pieces that illuminated the personalities of
members of that Fellowship.
This was another category that had too many Hurt-Comfort
Frodo stories. The best of these was marred by
grammatical errors that made it incoherent. And it was
too bad, because the story was interestingwhen it
could be understood.
Here we have a category that should offer endless
possibilities. How long are they together? Where do they
go? Yet the same scenes were rewritten endlesslyAmon
Hen, Moria, Imladris, Rohan. Usually the rewrites were
based on the film, with dialogue taken directly from the
Thats not interesting. We already know how those
scenes play out. What about other scenes? Does Aragorn
take anyone hunting? Where do they get all that sausage,
anyway? Do they meet a lone farmer, or a band of elves,
or more rangers? Those are the stories that should be
What do you think of when you hear those words? Indiana
Jones? Tarzan? Hunting orcs? Me too.
This is where youd expect to find the page-turners,
the stories that are heavy on the violence and light on
the navel-gazing. And there were quite a few of those
entered. This was the only one of my categories with a
There were some worthy runners-up, too; one of the very
few dwarf-centric stories was here, along with some fine
Most authors have done their homeworkthey know what
you can, and cant, do with a sword or bow. There
were fewer horse-related errors than I expected to see,
which is also good. Those little details are what make an
action story believable.
The single biggest problem in this category was the
presence of Frodo-centric stories. Frodo would get
stabbed/shot/burned/frozen/crushed/ drowned/bitten/ in
the first part, and then the rest of the story centered
on nursing him along. Most of these were really
Hurt-Comfort stories; there wasnt enough action to
justify their entry here. The very best of these
contained anachronisms so jarring that it destroyed the
entire mood of the piece. Those anachronisms cost it a
place in the finals.
Many stories in this category also suffered from
inadequate endings. Some just ended; it was frustrating
to be reading a wonderful story, only to have it simplyend.
At least one looked like it ended because the author had
run out of room.
I would like to see more stories based away from the ring
quest; there is so much history in Middle-Earth, it seems
a shame to not explore it further.
This was a very popular category, with nearly a hundred
nominated stories covering a very broad range. A high
proportion of nominations, however, were not well suited
to the category: unstructured wandering narratives,
character studies lacking dramatic tension or plot, and
pure action with little or no character development. The
judges looked for stories that made good use of the
dramatic (conflict-crisis-resolution) structure, in some
form or other, and which showed a good balance between
plot and characterisation.
What is comedy? Any genre that can be home to both
Shakespeare and the Three Stooges is bound to be
subjective, at best.
This was probably the single most competitive category I
saw. Everything from poetry to novels, all in the same
massive collection of works. Every style imaginable,
every character ever dreamed of, every type of humor, was
present. And most of it was funny.
How tough was this category? After eliminating the ones
that were unsuitable, almost half the works remained.
Thats how deep the quality was. That meant going
back through, readingand rereadinguntil a
reasonable number of stories survived. And there were
some tough calls. I tried to pick the widest variety of
styles, without sacrificing overall quality.
Having said all that, the ultimate winner had everything
going for it. Its funny, its in character, its
well-written. And its not a funny once,
a story thats fun the first time, but tedious the
second time around.
The runner-up had the most accurate voices of the entire
category. Everyone sounds like themselves. That may seem
obvious, but maintaining a character in voice is one of
the single most difficult things for an author to master.
Its biggest problem was a weak ending.
This category also had the biggest heartbreak. There was
one story that was hilarious, and it would have made the
finalsand quite possibly won. What was wrong? Well,
it was so badly formatted that it was difficult to read.
The grammar was atrociouseven allowing for a comic
effect. Its lack of coherence undermined some of the
There were some trends that need mentioning.
Homosexuality is not inherently funny. Neither are group
sex, drugs, drunkenness, pedophilia, cross-dressing or
rape. Every one of these was incorporated into something
that someone thought was funny. Theyre not.
Best Characterisation Tolkien character
Few stories really focus in closely on one or two
characters. Tolkien created such a large and varied
population for Middle-earth that it is tempting to play
with as many characters as possible. This category, for
stories focusing on a character created by Tolkien,
produced a wide variety of nominations from the
Silmarillion and the Lord of the Rings, and the quality
was good. A difficult category to judge! Catching the
exact manner of speech of a character is key to a good
depiction; capturing their feelings another good thing.
And make your character multi-dimensional dont
just focus on Frodos desire for the Ring, look at
his feelings about Sam, his longing for the Shire ...
fill in the gaps. Tolkien left many gaps, and theyre
there to be played with.
Best Characterisation Original character
Considering the amount of invective regarding the
prevalence of Mary-Sues within this fandom, the overall
quality of the nominations was very high, and there were
quite a few pleasant surprises. Most nominated stories
featured female OCs, with a strong bias towards humans,
particularly from Gondor. Hobbit and elvish OCs were thin
on the ground, dwarven OCs pretty much absent, and the
great majority of entries focused on The Lord of the
There were quite a few nominations for minor characters
invented by Tolkien and included in genealogical tables
or histories in the Appendix. After some discussion, it
was decided to exclude these characters. Tolkien provided
them with a position in society and often with some
family details, and so they did not present the challenge
of creating a character whole-cloth. Many such minor
characters have also accumulated considerable amounts of
fanon; Finduilas is a good example. We also decided to
focus on OCs who fitted into Tolkiens Arda; thus
several humorous stories of the modern-girl-in-Middle-earth
type were excluded from this category.
Poetry and song play powerful roles in Tolkiens
works. How many stories are told as poems? Gil-Galad? The
ring rhyme? Theres too many to name.
Poetry was also extremely competitive. Over 50 poems were
entered. They ranged from delicate haiku to complex rhyme
schemes, from free-verse to sonnets. And most of them
were very good. Again, over half of them survived the
initial cut. It took a great deal of careful culling to
pare it down.
The ultimate winner involves an internal rhyme scheme
that Tolkien himself would be likely to use. Our
runner-up used a more common form, but was every bit as
lyrical and effective.
Poetry poses some unique problems. One of the finest of
the entries was eliminated because, outside of the title,
there was nothing which clearly set it in Middle-Earth.
It was lovely, yes, but it was also generic. A gorgeous
haiku was eliminated when the author would not return
emails. Some poets entered poem cycles, but refused to
choose which individual piece they wanted considered for
Poetry also had the largest age range among the authors.
All finalists were chosen for quality. Amazingly, two
young poets made the finals. The age of the authors was
not known to us until after the poems had been judged.
They should take pride in the fact that they were good
enough to reach the finals while competing on equal
footing with more experienced poets.
I think that poetry probably should be divided into three
separate categories: Short form (haiku, sextets),
Traditional (long poems), and Experimental (free verse,
blank verse). All three require skills that are widely
diverse, much like the different skills needed to create
a vignette instead of a novel.
Best Critical Essay
Our winner was scholarly without being pedantic,
well-written without being verbose, and a solid example
of what an essay can, and should, be. The runner-up
illuminated an often-overlooked fact about Tolkien: he
wasnt writing in a vacuum, as many people seem to
think. He was influenced by the leading writers and
thinkers of the day, and this fine essay serves as a
reminder of that.
Most of the essays were well-written. There was some
confusion about what makes an essay. The best way to
describe it would be as a factual, non-fiction work,
designed to illustrate some facet of Tolkiens
creation. It should have referenceswhat format is
chosen is unimportantand it should have a clear
This is a category that I expect will grow, because more
people are beginning to understand that there is
considerably more to Tolkien than pretty Elves and cute
Best Vignette/Short story
Over a hundred nominations, an extremely wide range of
stories, and a particularly high overall quality
characterised the Vignette/Short story category. Many
worthy entries unfortunately couldnt be squeezed
into the shortlist, and the final judging was extremely
It takes a tremendous amount of dedication to begin a
novel. It takes an even greater amount to finish one.
This was a close one. The ultimate winner had the best
example of first-person POV I have seen in quite some
time. The story we know wasnt endlessly retold, the
characters were sharply drawn, and everyone was in voice.
This is a remarkable achievement.
Runner-up was a tie. And the two are about as different
as it is possible to get. One was a powerful rewrite of a
classic Tolkien love story. It had some rough spots, but
it also had some passages of stunningly lyrical beauty.
The other runner-up was also a finalist in Humor. This
was one of the funniest things entered; and amazingly
enough, it kept up its spirit and comedy to the end. With
a cast of characters that has to be seen to be believed,
a love story that proves opposites attract, and a
wonderfully silly approach, this is one to remember.
Almost a third of the entries were WIP. The rules say,
quite clearly, that Works in Progress are not eligible.
For some reason, people seemed to think that they were
exempt from this rule. Umm, no. There are too many people
who turned in finished works to consider an unfinished
work for a prize.
Best New Author
Many of the authors whose stories were nominated within
this category were very well established writers, and
there was also substantial overlap with stories nominated
in other categories. We decided to use the opportunity to
highlight new talent by selecting only stories by authors
who had published their first story in this fandom after
September 2002, and excluding authors whose work was
shortlisted in other award categories. We also broadened
the consideration to stories nominated in other
categories that just failed to make the final lists. The
judges particularly looked for stories where the author
brought fresh insight to the Tolkien fandom, rather than
rehashing familiar plots/situations. We also looked for
authors who demonstrated a firm grasp of the appropriate
Thanks to tremendous support from Tolkien fans, we're intending to run the Mithril Awards again in 2004.
If you'd like to help with the 2004 awards, you can e-mail the organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Mithril Awards Administration list, LotR-FF-awards