Published for the very first time in its own volume, Tolkien’s
remarkable tale about a painter whose obsession with detail
prevents him from finishing his great work. Niggle is a painter.
Not a very successful one, partly because he has so many other
things to do. For some time he has been obsessed with one
particular canvas – a curious picture of a tree with a vast
landscape stretching out behind it. The painting keeps getting
bigger and bigger, but Niggle has a journey to make. In 1939
Tolkien was despairing of ever bringing his great work The Lord of
the Rings to a conclusion. One morning he woke up with the story
Leaf by Niggle complete in his mind and wrote it down. This
poignant story, about an artist on a curious journey, is often seen
as an allegory of the writer’s own creative process and life.
Published to coincide with a new touring stage production of the
story, this is the first time the story has been published in its
own volume, enabling readers to savour one of Tolkien’s most
elegant, haunting and least-known short stories.