John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (January 3, 1892 – September 2, 1973) is best known as the author of The Hobbit and its sequel The Lord of the Rings. He was a professor of Anglo-Saxon language at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and of English studies English language and literature, also at Oxford, from 1945 to 1959. He was a strongly committed Roman Catholic. Tolkien was a close friend of C.S. Lewis, with whom he shared membership in the literary discussion group The Inklings.
For more on the author, please see J.R.R. Tolkien at The Lord of the Rings Wiki.