Pellissippi professor presents ‘A Hobbit’s Holiday’

Before Harry Potter, “Game of Thrones” and “The Lord of the Rings,” a timid, yet surprisingly resourceful hobbit set out on a series of adventures. Along the way, he fought trolls, spiders, orcs, and an ancient dragon, and ended up learning quite a bit about himself.

The journey of Bilbo Baggins, the hero of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” is the subject of the upcoming Faculty Lecture Series presentation at Pellissippi State Community College. Faculty member Keith Norris’ talk—“A Hobbit’s Holiday: The Extraordinary Journey of Bilbo Baggins”—is Nov. 29, 7-8 p.m., in the Clayton Performing Arts Center at the Hardin Valley Campus.

Norris focuses on Bilbo’s journey, performing original stories, poems and musical compositions to evoke the magic of Tolkien’s novel. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

Norris will retell Bilbo’s adventures in five parts: “Drinking With Dwarves,” “The Trouble With Trolls,” “Matching Wits With a Monster,” “Songs for Spiders” and “Dueling With Dragons.”

Even though “The Hobbit, or There and Back Again” was published as a children’s novel in 1937, Norris says it also can teach adults a thing or two.

“Bilbo runs into a series of foes, and he learns enough to make sensible decisions,” said Norris. “He becomes the perfect person to stand between powerful people as a negotiator. As we grow up and learn to deal with our own bullies, enemies, monsters and villains, we learn to use creativity to effectively oppose them.”

Norris has read “The Hobbit” at least once a year since he was 12 and says the book has taught him that people can talk their way out of almost any unpleasant situation. More than that, he credits the book with influencing him to become an English professor and poet.

The next lecture is faculty member David Key’s “The Cold War,” Feb. 21, 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus.

The Faculty Lecture Series is part of Pellissippi State’s new arts series, “The Arts at Pellissippi State,” which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the visual arts.

For more information about the Faculty Lecture Series, email Keith Norris at or Rob Lloyd at, or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action for Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6607 or