Beren writes: I received the following statement by the Tolkien Estate regarding the “Wheelbarrows at Dawn” cancellation:
“The J R R Tolkien Estate has been made aware of a statement by ADC Publications concerning its cancellation of its proposed publication “Wheelbarrows at Dawn” by Angela Gardner and Neil Holford.
ADC’s statement suggests that the publication has been cancelled as a result of the Tolkien Estate’s threats to take court action preventing the release of the book.
As this statement is highly misleading, the Tolkien Estate considers it important that the true facts be clarified for those concerned.
The book in question was presented by ADC as a biography of J R R Tolkien’s brother Hilary. However, the publication included numerous personal letters from J R R Tolkien to his brother and from other family members that were reproduced virtually verbatim.
The copyright in these private, unpublished letters belongs to the Tolkien Estate. As the guardian of these rights and of the privacy of the Tolkien family, both of which it takes great care to protect, the Estate quite properly declined permission for the letters to be reproduced in this way.
However, the Estate made clear to ADC that it had no issue with the publication of the book providing the material in question – affecting only 20 pages out of a total of some 300 – was removed.
Although ADC’s response was to agree to this, what it then did in practice was to paraphrase the letters, something that had been made clear from the outset would not resolve the issue.
Despite the Estate’s devoting considerable resource to helping ADC, not least by suggesting specific editorial changes which would meet its concerns, ADC then announced the cancellation of the book.”