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Milford Report 1997 by Julian Flood
Attendees: Chris Amies / Graham Andrews / Cherith Baldry / Liz Counihan / Stuart Falconer / Julian Flood / Neile Graham / Liz Holliday / Ben Jeapes / Jane Killick / Chris Paul / Angela Shackleton Hill / Charlie Stross
I wasn't expecting peas, but then I didn't know what to expect at all — Milford has hovered on the edge of my consciousness for years, but has never settled. Well, now I know. On 23rd October fifteen writers gathered at the Bowden Close Hotel, Maidencombe, for the 23rd Milford, a week of readings, criticism and the odd silly game. Everyone there had been published, some with novels to their names, others short fiction: what we had here was every writer's dream, criticism by an expert audience. As one of the real beginners I sat at the back and kept very quiet for the first — oh — three or four minutes.
The workload was enormous. By the end I was left wishing desperately that I had tried just a little harder, tidied my stories, nailed the points of view, etc. because the standard was so high. Comment was direct, honest and never (very) painful. It was the first workshop I've ever been to where no one showed the least sign of huffiness — even when the crit reached the 'are you sure that peas bounce?' level of detail.
On the last night, at dinner, a great roar went up from the other end of the table where these guardians of the future of Brit SF had carried out a controlled trial. We can state, with authority, that peas bounce. I find that strangely reassuring.
Liz Holliday (then secretary) and Liz Counihan
Stuart Falconer, Chris Amies (back), Charlie Stross, Graham Andrews
(Comment on the T-shirt: "That's wrong" — Dr E. Counihan)
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