Virginia Kidd

Virginia Kidd (June 2, 1921 – January 11, 2003) was an American literary agent, writer and editor, who worked in particular in science fiction and related fields. She represented science fiction American authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, R.A. Lafferty, Anne McCaffrey, Judith Merril, and Gene Wolfe. Wolfe modeled Ann Schindler, a character in his 1990 novel Castleview, in large part on Kidd.[1]

Virginia Kidd
Mildred Virginia Kidd

June 2, 1921
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedJanuary 11, 2003 (aged 81)
Milford, Pennsylvania
Known forLiterary Agency

Early life and career

Kidd was born Mildred Virginia Kidd[2] in the Germantown district of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the youngest daughter of Charles Kidd, a printer, and Zetta Daisy Whorley. She had polio at the age of 2, and was paralyzed for a year from the chest down. Growing up she attended the Berlitz School of Languages where she developed fluency in Spanish, Latin, Italian, French, and German. Kidd discovered science fiction at the age of nine, and became an active science fiction fan. She was a Futurian and, in 1941, became one of the founding members of the Vanguard Amateur Press Association.[3] She did not attend college, saying "because I couldn't go to the University of Chicago, and I wouldn't go to any other."[4] She married opera singer Jack Emden in 1943 (the marriage lasted until 1947), and then fellow writer James Blish; the latter marriage lasted until 1963. She had four children: Karen Anne Emden (born 1944), Asa Benjamin Blish (Born and died 1947), Dorothea Elisabeth Blish (Born 1954), and Charles Benjamin Blish (born 1956).[5]

Kidd successfully worked as a freelance writer, ghost writer, and proofreader. She is well known for her contributions to the feminist science fiction literary movement, by supporting and representing marginalized authors.[4] Her success overcoming structural barriers in her field makes her a prominent example of a successful businesswoman that was able to work alongside companies such as Ace Publishing and Parnassus Books.[6] She was an active poet, and published Kinesis, a little magazine devoted to poetry which helped to launch the careers of writers including Sonya Dorman.[7]

Her short stories included "Kangaroo Court", published in 1966 in Damon Knight's Orbit 1, and later reprinted as "Flowering Season". She edited or co-edited several science fiction anthologies: Saving Worlds: A Collection of Original Science Fiction Stories (with Roger Elwood, 1973); The Wounded Planet (1974); The Best of Judith Merril (1976); Millennial Women (1978); Interfaces: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction (1980) and Edges: Thirteen New Tales from the Borderlands of the Imagination (1980) (the latter two with client and friend Ursula K. Le Guin). Millennial Women received the 12th Locus Award in 1979.[8]

Virginia Kidd Literary Agency

In 1965, she founded her Virginia Kidd Literary Agency, headquartered at her home, Arrowhead, in Milford, Pennsylvania, and quickly attracted clients from the science fiction community. Here, she established herself as the first female literary agent in speculative fiction.[9] Kidd was a close friend of Judith Merrill, rooming with her in New York City in the 1940s. In 1961, Merrill introduced Kidd to Anne McCaffrey at a grocery store, a meeting that began a long and successful professional relationship. In addition to being McCaffrey's agent and editor, Kidd provided emotional support and graduate level English instruction to McCaffrey though she was at times a harsh critic, telling her to burn the first version of Dragonquest.[10] Her clients included David R. Bunch, Juanita Coulson, George Alec Effinger, Alan Dean Foster, Richard E. Geis, Ursula K. Le Guin, Zach Hughes, Laurence Janifer, R. A. Lafferty, Anne McCaffrey, Judith Merril, Ward Moore, Christopher Priest, Frank M. Robinson, Joanna Russ, and Gene Wolfe.[4]

She withdrew from active management of the agency in the mid-1990s due to complications of diabetes.[11] She died in 2003, but the firm survives her death. She continued to write "in the cracks" (as she put it) throughout her life, publishing her last short story, "Ok, O Che? by K.," in 1995, and her last poem, "Argument," in 1998.

The Milford Method

Along with author Damon Knight and husband James Blish, Kidd developed a method of critique known internationally as the Milford Method.[12] Working by the Milford Method:

  • Writing is handed out and read by the critiquers.
  • Critiquers make their notes.
  • The writer listens silently while the critiquers, going around the circle one at a time, share their critiques.
  • The writer can answer only yes-or-no questions.
  • The writer is allowed to respond, uninterrupted, at the end of the circle.[13]

The Milford Method is still employed by the Milford Writer's Workshop and has spread to various other writing groups.[14]



  • “Suburban Harvest.” 1952
  • “Assignment Christmas Spirit.” 1966
  • “Happily Ever Once Upon (A Play)” 1990
  • “Ok, O Che.” Aberrations, 1995
  • “A King of King.” With All of Love: Selected Poems, 1995
  • “Kangaroo Court.” Orbit I, 1996
  • “Argument.” Weird Tales 55, Fall 1998

Books edited

  • McCaffrey, Anne. Dragonflight. New York: Ballantine, 1968.
  • Le Guin, Ursula K. The Eye of the Heron. New York: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1982.

Anthologies edited

  • Saving Worlds: A Collection of Original Science Fiction Stories. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1973. (Republished as The Wounded Planet. New York: Bantam Books, 1974.)
  • The Best of Judith Merril. New York: Warner Books, 1976.
  • Millennial Women. New York: Delacorte, 1978.
  • Edges: Thirteen New Tales from the Borderlands of the Imagination. New York: Pocket Books, 1980.
  • Interfaces: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction. New York: Ace Books, 1980.


“The Monster in the Park.” Gérard Klein (translated from French by Virginia Kidd). The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Vol. 21, No. 3, 1961


  1. ^ Gene Wolfe, "My Agent," Locus, March 2003, p. 80.
  2. ^ Blish genealogical database
  3. ^ Davin, Eric (2006). Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965. Lexington Books. p. 87. ISBN 0739112678.
  4. ^ a b c Reginald, R. Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature - Volume 2.
  5. ^ "Kidd, Virginia". Penn State Center for the History of the Book. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Virginia Kidd Obituary". Locus. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  7. ^ Frazier, Robert (2005). The Alchemy of Stars. Wildside Press LLC. p. 164. ISBN 7770048109.
  8. ^ Kelly, Mark R. (2000–2007). "1979 Locus Awards". The Locus Index to SF Awards. Locus Publications. Archived from the original on 2015-04-13. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  9. ^ Latham, Rob (March 2009). "Review of Galactic Suburbia: Recovering Women's Science Fiction by Lisa Yaszek". Science Fiction Studies. 36 (1): 175. JSTOR 25475223.
  10. ^ Roberts, Robin (2007). Anne McCaffrey: A Life with Dragons. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 96–98. ISBN 1604732997.
  11. ^ [1] Hartwell, David G., "Those Now Gone: NYRSF Editorial 175," New York Review of Science Fiction 175 (March 2003)
  12. ^ Strelecki, Lori (2009). Pike County. Arcadia Publishing. p. 110. ISBN 0738565628.
  13. ^ Kneale, Heidi. "Workshopping and Critique". Vision. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  14. ^ Bedford, Jacey. "THE MILFORD WRITERS' CONFERENCE: PAST AND FUTURE". Tor Books Blog. Retrieved 2013-11-14.

Further reading

  • Kidd, Virginia, "Agent First, Anthologist Sometimes, Writer in the Cracks," in Women of Vision, edited by Denise DuPont. St Martin’s Press: 1988.
  • The Futurians: the Story of the Science Fiction "Family" of the 30'S That Produced Today's Top Sf Writers & Editors (1977) by Damon Knight.

External links

1937 Texas Tech Red Raiders football team

The 1937 Texas Tech Red Raiders football team represented Texas Tech during the 1937 college football season.

1948 Texas Mines Miners football team

The 1948 Texas Mines Miners football team was an American football team that represented Texas School of Mines (now known as University of Texas at El Paso) as a member of the Border Conference during the 1948 college football season. In its third season under head coach Jack Curtice, the team compiled an 8–2–1 record (4–1–1 against Border Conference opponents), finished second in the conference, defeated West Virginia in the 1949 Sun Bowl, and outscored all opponents by a total of 361 to 182.

1950 Texas Western Miners football team

The 1950 Texas Western Miners football team was an American football team that represented Texas Western College (now known as University of Texas at El Paso) as a member of the Border Conference during the 1950 college football season. In its first season under head coach Mike Brumbelow, the team compiled a 7–3 record (4–2 against Border Conference opponents), finished third in the conference, and outscored all opponents by a total of 272 to 232.

Anne McCaffrey

Anne Inez McCaffrey (1 April 1926 – 21 November 2011) was an American-born writer who emigrated to Ireland and was best known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series. Early in McCaffrey's 46-year career as a writer, she became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction and the first to win a Nebula Award. Her 1978 novel The White Dragon became one of the first science-fiction books to appear on the New York Times Best Seller list.

In 2005 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named McCaffrey its 22nd Grand Master, an annual award to living writers of fantasy and science fiction. She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame on 17 June 2006. She also received the Robert A. Heinlein Award for her work in 2007.

Arrowhead (science fiction venue)

Arrowhead is the name that science fiction writer James Blish and his wife, literary agent and science fiction writer Virginia Kidd, gave to their home in Milford, Pennsylvania. The Virginia Kidd Literary Agency has been operating continuously at Arrowhead since 1965.

Arrowhead has been a focal point for science fiction writers for over fifty years. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) was partially conceived at Arrowhead, and hundreds of gatherings of science fiction writers who were later prominent SFWA members were hosted there.


Dragonquest is a science fantasy novel by the American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey. It is the sequel to Dragonflight, set seven years later and the second book in the Dragonriders of Pern series. Dragonquest was first published by Ballantine Books in May 1971.

Jacob R. Van Rensselaer

Jacob Rutsen Van Rensselaer (September 27, 1767 – September 22, 1835) was an American lawyer and Federalist politician who served as Speaker of the New York State Assembly from 1812 to 1813, and Secretary of State of New York, from 1813 to 1815.

James Blish

James Benjamin Blish (23 May 1921 – 30 July 1975) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He is best known for his Cities in Flight novels, and his series of Star Trek novelizations written with his wife, J. A. Lawrence. He is credited with creating the term gas giant to refer to large planetary bodies.

Blish was a member of the Futurians. His first published stories appeared in Super Science Stories and Amazing Stories.

Blish wrote literary criticism of science fiction using the pen-name William Atheling Jr. His other pen names included: Donald Laverty, John MacDougal, and Arthur Lloyd Merlyn.

Kidd (surname)

Kidd is a surname.

People with the surname Kidd include:

Albert Kidd (born 1961), Scottish footballer

Alexander Kidd, British tug of war competitor

Benjamin Kidd (1858–1916), British sociologist and writer

Beresford Kidd (1865–1948), Anglican priest and historian

Bill Kidd (born 1956), Scottish politician

Billy Kidd (born 1943), American skier

Billy Kidd (footballer) (1908–1978), English footballer

Brian Kidd (born 1949), English footballer and coach

Bruce Kidd (born 1943), Canadian athlete

Carol Kidd (born 1945), Scottish singer

Carl Kidd (born 1973), American football player

Chip Kidd (born 1965), American graphic designer

David Kidd (disambiguation)

Doug Kidd (born 1941), New Zealand politician

Edward Kidd (1849-1912), Canadian politician

Edward I. Kidd (1845-1902), American politician

Eddie Kidd (born 1959), British stuntman

Ernest Kidd (1900–1974), English footballer

Flora Kidd (1926–2008), English-Canadian writer

Frederick Kidd (1921–1997), Canadian politician

Gary Kidd (born 1985), Irish cricketer

George Kidd (disambiguation)

Glenna Sue Kidd (1933–2017), American baseball player

Hilton Kidd (1922–2011), Australian rugby league footballer

Ian Kidd(1964-?), Ice hockey player

Isaac C. Kidd (1884-1941), admiral in the U.S. Navy

Isaac C. Kidd Jr. (1919-1999), admiral in the U.S. Navy

Jack Kidd (disambiguation)

James Kidd (disambiguation)

Jane Kidd, Canadian artist

Jimmy Kidd, English footballer

Jason Kidd (born 1973), American basketball player and coach

Jodie Kidd (born 1978), English model

John Kidd (disambiguation)

Johnny Kidd (disambiguation)

Joseph Kidd (1824–1918), Irish-born London doctor

Joumana Kidd (born 1972), American actress and journalist

Juanita Kidd Stout (1919–1998), American judge

Kathryn H. Kidd (died 2015), American writer

Keith Kidd (born 1962), American football player

Kidd (Danish rapper) (born 1989), Danish rapper

Leslie Kidd (1889–1984), English-born Irish cricketer

Lewis Kidd (born 1995), Scottish footballer

Mae Street Kidd (1904–1999), American businesswoman

Maxx Kidd (1941–2017), American record producer

Michael Kidd (1915–2007), American choreographer

Michael Kidd (physician) (born 1959), Australian general practitioner

Nikki Kidd (born 1987), Scottish field hockey player

Paul Kidd, Australian writer

Percy Kidd (1851–1942), English doctor

Richard A. Kidd (born 1943), ninth Sergeant Major of the Army of the United States

Ronald Kidd (1889–1942) English civil rights campaigner

Roy Kidd (born 1941), American football player and coach

Ryan Kidd (born 1971), English footballer

Sue Monk Kidd (born 1948), American writer

Sydney Kidd (born 1992), Canadian ice hockey player

Thomas Kidd (disambiguation)

Trevor Kidd (born 1972), Canadian ice hockey player

Tyson Kidd (born 1980), Canadian professional wrestler

Vince Kidd (born 1989), English singer

Virginia Kidd (1921–2003), American writer and literary agent

Warren Kidd (born 1970), American basketball player

Wes Kidd, American music producer

William Kidd (disambiguation)

Literary agent

A literary agent (sometimes publishing agent, or writer's representative) is an agent who represents writers and their written works to publishers, theatrical producers, film producers, and film studios, and assists in the sale and deal negotiation of the same. Literary agents most often represent novelists, screenwriters, and non-fiction writers. They are paid a fixed percentage (usually twenty percent on foreign sales and ten to fifteen percent for domestic sales) of the proceeds of sales they negotiate on behalf of their clients.

Millennial Women

Millennial Women is a 1978 science fiction anthology, edited by Virginia Kidd, in which all the stories are written by women and have a female character as the primary protagonist. The themes which these stories have in common are those of social science fiction: that which is perceived as alien, the uses of language, careers, familial relationships, sexual politics, social constructions of gender, political freedom and equality.

Orbit 1

Orbit 1 is a 1966 science fiction short story anthology edited by American writer Damon Knight.


Quark/3 is a 1971 anthology of science fiction short stories and poetry edited by Samuel R. Delany and Marilyn Hacker. It is the third volume in the Quark series. The stories and poems are original to this anthology.

R. A. Lafferty

Raphael Aloysius Lafferty (November 7, 1914 – March 18, 2002) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer known for his original use of language, metaphor, and narrative structure, as well as for his etymological wit. He also wrote a set of four autobiographical novels, In a Green Tree; a history book, The Fall of Rome; and several novels of historical fiction.

In March 2011, it was announced in Locus that the copyrights to 29 Lafferty novels and 225 short stories were up for sale. The literary estate was soon thereafter purchased by the magazine's nonprofit foundation, under the auspices of board member Neil Gaiman.

Science fiction fandom

Science fiction fandom or SF fandom is a community or fandom of people interested in science fiction in contact with one another based upon that interest. SF fandom has a life of its own, but not much in the way of formal organization (although clubs such as the Futurians (1937–1945) are a recognized example of organized fandom).

Most often called simply "fandom" within the community, it can be viewed as a distinct subculture, with its own literature and jargon; marriages and other relationships among fans are common, as are multi-generational fan families.

Sky Hook

Sky Hook was a science fiction fanzine published by Redd Boggs from 1948-1957. It was nominated for the 1954 Retro Hugo for Best Fanzine.Contributors included Poul Anderson, James Blish, Philip Jose Farmer, Dean Grennell, David Keller, Virginia Kidd (as "Virginia Blish"), Sam Moskowitz, William Rotsler, and Jack Speer.

The Dark Between the Stars (short story collection)

The Dark Between the Stars is a 1981 collection of previously-published science fiction short stories by American writer Poul Anderson.

The Eye of the Heron

The Eye of the Heron is a 1978 science fiction novel by American author Ursula K. Le Guin which was first published in the science fiction anthology Millennial Women.

Ursula K. Le Guin bibliography

Ursula K. Le Guin was an American author of speculative fiction, realistic fiction, non-fiction, screenplays, librettos, essays, poetry, speeches, translations, literary critiques, chapbooks, and children's fiction. She was primarily known for her works of speculative fiction. These include works set in the fictional world of Earthsea, stories in the Hainish Cycle, standalone novels and short stories. Though frequently referred to as an author of science fiction, critics have described her work as being difficult to classify.Le Guin came to critical attention with the publication of A Wizard of Earthsea in 1968, and The Left Hand of Darkness in 1969. The Earthsea books, of which A Wizard of Earthsea was the first, have been described as Le Guin's best work by several commentators, while scholar Charlotte Spivack described The Left Hand of Darkness as having established Le Guin's reputation as a writer of science fiction. Literary critic Harold Bloom referred to the books as Le Guin's masterpieces. Several scholars have called the Earthsea books Le Guin's best work. Her work has received intense critical attention. As of 1999, ten volumes of literary criticism and forty dissertations had been written about her work: she was referred to by scholar Donna White as a "major figure in American letters". Her awards include the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, and multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards. Feminist critiques of her writing were particularly influential upon Le Guin's later work.Le Guin's first published work was the poem "Folksong from the Montayna Province" in 1959, while her first short story was "An die Musik", in 1961; both were set in her fictional country of Orsinia. Her first professional publication was the short story "April in Paris" in 1962, while her first published novel was Rocannon's World, released by Ace Books in 1966. Her last publication was a 2018 collection of non-fiction, titled Dreams Must Explain Themselves and Other Essays 1972–2004. This bibliography includes all of Le Guin's published novels, short fiction, translations, edited volumes, and all collections that include material not previously published in book form, as well as any works mentioned in commentary about Le Guin's writings.

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