Image from Dimitra Fimi

The Immanent Grove

Trees permeate Fantasy literature, from the walking trees and their tree-like shepherds, the Ents, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, to the trees that populate the slopes of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast Mountain; from the village trees of the Douen in Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber to the mysterious branch-like lettering that obsesses a young librarian in Patricia McKillip’s Alphabet of Thorn. Forests are everywhere in fairy tales, myths and chivalric romances, and have a tendency to fill our dreams. As Ursula K. Le Guin puts it, ‘We all have forests in our minds. Forests unexplored, unending. Each of us gets lost in the forest, every night, alone’. Fantasy pays tribute to these mental forests and explores their depths.

In the twenty-first century, forests also hold the key to the future. Without extensive reforestation it is hard to imagine a way to counter the destructive effects of human dominance of the planet.

For all these reasons, we set up the Immanent Grove project to memorialise the achievements of the University of Glasgow's Fantasy graduates with the gift of trees, via the Trees for Life charity. We are planting a tree in the Highlands for each of our Fantasy graduates, forming The Immanent Grove. We have named our widely-scattered Grove after a wood on the Island of Roke in Ursula Le Guin’s classic fantasy series, the Books of Earthsea. Many people think that this wood ‘moves about in a mystifying manner’; but in this they are mistaken, Le Guin informs us, ‘for the Grove does not move. Its roots are the roots of being. It is all the rest that moves’.

May our wood, planted in the name of our graduates who are moving on, help to move the world on, too, in a better direction. 

To find out more about how the Immanent Grove project was conceived and set up see here:

To see the Immanent Grove trees and graduate messages see here:

The event that launched the Immanent Grove project was recorded and can be accessed via our YouTube channel here: