Milford Writer's Workshop
The Milford Writer's Workshop, or more properly Milford Writers' Conference, is an influential science fiction writer's event founded by Damon Knight among others in the mid-1950s, in Milford, Pennsylvania. It was so named because Merril, Knight, and Blish lived in Milford, Pennsylvania when it was founded. It moved to the UK in 1972 and has run successfully ever since on an annual basis.
It is both a residential workshop and a writers' conference in which published SF writers convene over the course of a week to intensively critique stories and samples from novels (usually works in progress) and to workshop ideas on all aspects of SF writing. It is a peer-to-peer conference with no teachers or students.
In 1972 James Blish set up the United Kingdom Milford SF Writers' Conference, which initially met in Milford on Sea, Hampshire. Since then it has been held in various locations, latterly Devon until 2001, York in 2002 and 2003, and (since 2004) at Trigonos Conference Centre in North Wales, usually in mid September.
An honorary committee is elected annually at the AGM held during the Milford week. The 2015 committee (elected 2014) comprises: Sue Thomason (Chair), Liz Williams (Secretary), Tina Anghelatos (Treasurer), Jacey Bedford (Vice-Chair, Website and Mailing Lists), Kari Sperring, and Karen Williams. Committee members are listed on the Milford web site: Milford UK official website
Participants must have sold at least one SF story to qualify for attendance, and relative newcomers to publication are welcomed, though participants often have multiple novel and/or short story sales to their credit. Qualification details are quoted on the official website Milford UK official website
Milford participants in the USA (pre-1972) include James Blish, Algis Budrys, Cyril Kornbluth, Ted Sturgeon, Richard McKenna, Robert Silverberg, Anthony Boucher, Jane Roberts, Jack Dann, Lester Del Rey, Tom Disch, Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. LeGuin. Kurt Vonnegut, Gardner Dozois, George Alec Effinger, Carol and Ed Emshwiller, Harlan Ellison, Gustav Hasford, Katherine MacLean, Anne McCaffrey, Judith Merril, Frederik Pohl, Gene Wolfe and many others. Milford is the model for other peer-to-peer SF writer workshops, including the Turkey City Writer's Workshop.
Participants in the UK (in 1972 and afterward) have included Tom Arden, John Brunner (novelist), John Clute, Jaine Fenn, Neil Gaiman, Mary Gentle, Ben Jeapes, Diana Wynne Jones, Gwyneth Jones, David Langford, Anne McCaffrey, George R. R. Martin, Alastair Reynolds, Kari Sperring, Bruce Sterling, Charles Stross, Karen Traviss, Liz Williams, and Patricia Wrede, amongst many others. A full list of former Milford participants is listed on the official website Milford UK official website
Manuscripts are distributed beforehand. Everyone reads, critiques, and prepares before the formal workshop begins. Etiquette precludes participants from discussing the manuscripts beforehand either with the author or other members of the critique group. The participants sit round in a circle. The author whose work is being critiqued has to sit in silence through the first part in which each participant in turn is allowed an uninterrupted four minutes (timed) to deliver their critique. Then the author gets an uninterrupted right to reply. Following that a general discussion ensues. Constructive criticism is strongly encouraged. In the last few years it has become accepted for the critiqued manuscripts to be given back to the author complete with notes.
- "Glasgow Science Fiction Writers Circle website". April 30, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
- Bedford, Jacey. "THE MILFORD WRITERS' CONFERENCE: PAST AND FUTURE". Tor Books Blog. Retrieved 2013-11-14.