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Milford Writer’s Workshop

Milford Writer’s Workshop

The Milford Writer’s Workshop , or more properly Milford Writers’ Conference , is an annual science fiction writer’s event founded by Damon Knight , among others, in the mid-1950s, in Milford, Pennsylvania . It was so named because of Knight, Judith Merril , and James Blish lived in Milford, Pennsylvania when it was founded. citation needed ] It moved to the United Kingdom 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 science fiction writers convenes on the course of a week to intensively criticism 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, Blish set up the United Kingdom’s Milford SF Writers’ Conference, which premiered in Milford on Sea , Hampshire . Since then it has been held in various locations, lastly Devon until 2001, York in 2002 and 2003, and (since 2004) at Trigonos Conference Center in North Wales , usually in mid September.

Honorary committee

An honorary committee is elected annually at the AGM held during the Milford week. The 2015 committee (elected 2014) includes: 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 official website.


Participants must have at least one science fiction story to suit, and relative newcomers to publication are welcomed, though participants often have multiple novel and / or short stories to their credit. Qualification details are quoted on the workshop’s official website.

Workshop participants in the United States (pre-1972) included:

  • James Blish
  • Anthony Boucher
  • Algis Budrys
  • Jack Dann
  • Lester Del Rey
  • Samuel R. Delany
  • Tom Disch
  • Gardner Dozois
  • George Alec Effinger
  • Harlan Ellison
  • Carol Emshwiller
  • Ed Emshwiller
  • Gustav Hasford
  • Cyril Kornbluth
  • Ursula K. LeGuin
  • Katherine MacLean
  • Anne McCaffrey
  • Richard McKenna
  • Judith Merril
  • Frederik Pohl
  • Jane Roberts
  • Robert Silverberg
  • Ted Sturgeon
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Gene Wolfe

Milford is the model for other peer-to-peer science fiction writer workshops, including the Turkey City Writer’s Workshop . quote needed ]

Participants in the UK (in 1972 and afterward) have included:

  • Tom Arden
  • John Brunner
  • John Clute
  • Jaine Fenn
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Mary Gentle
  • John Grant
  • Colin Greenland
  • Ben Jeapes
  • Diana Wynne Jones
  • Gwyneth Jones
  • David Langford
  • George RR Martin
  • Anne McCaffrey
  • Alastair Reynolds
  • Kari Sperring
  • Bruce Sterling
  • Charles Stross
  • Karen Traviss
  • Liz Williams
  • Patricia Wrede

A full list of Milford participants is listed on the workshop’s official website.

Milford rules

Manuscripts are distributed beforehand. Everyone reads, reviews, and prepares before the formal workshop begins. Etiquette precludes participants from the manuscripts beforehand with the author or other members of the criticism group. The participants sit round in a circle. The author whose work is being critiqued in the first place in which each participant is uninterrupted four minutes (timed) to deliver their criticism. 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 been accepted for the criticized manuscripts to be given back to the complete author with notes.

The so-called “Milford method” has been adopted by several writers’ groups, including the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers Circle . [1] [2]

See also

  • List of writers’ conferences


  1. Jump up^ “Glasgow Science Fiction Circle Writers website” . April 30, 2011 . Retrieved 7 September 2010 .
  2. Jump up^ Bedford, Jacey. “The Milford Writers’ Conference: Past and Future” . Tor Books Blog . Retrieved 14 November 2013 .