Michael D. C. Drout is Chair of the English Department and Prentice Associate Professor of English at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts, where he teaches Old and Middle English literature, fantasy, science fiction and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Drout edited and published Tolkien’s Beowulf and the Critics in 2002, and in 2003 this edition won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies. Drout also edited the 2006 J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment, published by Routledge. He is one of the founding editors of the journal Tolkien Studies and has published numerous articles on Tolkien and fantasy literature.
His technical research in medieval studies includes on Anglo-Saxon monastic rules, wills and the “wisdom poems” of the Exeter Book as well as articles on Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon medicine. Drout runs anglosaxonaloud.com, a daily podcast of Old English verse, and he is the producer and performer of Beowulf Aloud, a reading of the entire poem in Old English. His book, How Tradition Works: A Meme-Based Poetics of the Anglo-Saxon Tenth Century was published in 2006 by Arizona Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies.
Drout has also recorded seven college courses on CD for The Modern Scholar division of Recorded Books. These include Rings, Swords and Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature (also published by Barnes and Noble as Of Sorcerers and Men), From Here to Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction, Bard of the Middle Ages: The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, The History of the English Language, A Way with Words, Part 1: Rhetoric, Writing and the Arts of Persuasion and A Way with Words, Part 2: Understanding and Appreciating Literature.
Drout is currently engaged in a project to extract DNA from medieval manuscripts and is writing a new book, From Tradition to Culture. In 2006 he was awarded a Millicent C. McIntosh Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Institute. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts with his wife and two children.
You can visit his web site here.
Jef Murray is a fantasy artist and illustrator best known for his illustrations of works by J.R.R. Tolkien. His paintings and illustrations appear regularly in Tolkien publications (Amon Hen, Mallorn, and Parma Nole) and in Catholic publications (St. Austin Review and the Georgia Bulletin) worldwide.
He is Artist-in-Residence for the St. Austin Review, and was artist guest of honor at the 2006 Gathering of the Fellowship in Toronto along with Ted Nasmith. He was nominated for an Imperishable Flame award in 2006, and his most recent book illustrations were for How Shall We Celebrate by Lorraine Murray.
He is also responsible for the Gathering of the Fellowship Logo as well as the colorful painting used by A Long-Expected Party seen to the right.
You can visit his web site here.
Judy Mitchell, co-owner of Alley Cat Scratch Costume, hasn't been costuming forever - it just seems that way. Actually she nearly flunked junior high sewing and swore never to touch a sewing machine or even sew on a button! Just goes to show how early plans work out. Joining a medieval group in the late 1970s introduced her to a concept of 'meatball sewing' and she got hooked. Now it all makes sense! And while she still might not be willing to do mending or replace buttons, spending a year at a time researching, and even hand sewing, dead-accurate historical clothing for competition has left it's mark.
Having figured out what went wrong in Jr. High, she happily encourages others with 'remedial sewing' to get more people hooked. When not sewing or researching, Judy fills up her spare time being a viking re enactor, playing with her 4 cats, or attached to the computer, and even being married to a very patient man.
You can visit her web site here.
A long-time fan of Tolkien, history, and fantasy role playing games, Michael Cook is a professional armor and sword maker for Celebrate Studios in Eastern Tennessee. He creates historically accurate weapons and armor as well original fantasy creations and replicas. Heavily inspired by the Lord of Rings films and the work of WETA Workshop, his leather Elven Armor has won Best of Show at Chattacon and Best in Class, Master Category at DragonCon 2006.
Michael has worked as a bounty hunter, law enforcement knife defense instructor and holds a fourth degree black belt in Kuni Shi Goshinjutsu.