Virginia Kidd

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(June 2, 1921 – January 11, 2003)

Mildred Virginia Kidd (later V. K. Emden, then Virginia Blish) was a literary agent, anthologist, writer and polyglot. One of her clients, Gene Wolfe, modeled Ann Schindler, a character in his 1990 novel, Castleview, in large part on Kidd.


Kidd discovered science fiction at age 9, and became an actifan. Among the many fans with whom she corresponded was Robert W. Lowndes, and she became "engaged" to him at age 16 (by correspondence).

She was a member of the Futurians of New York and was one of those who (according to the X Document) were slated to be purged. She belonged to the Baltimore SFL. She was a member of VAPA, publishing Discrete and Heeling Error under the name Virginia K. Emden. She was a member of First Fandom both historically and in the club.


Kidd published several short stories and poems, including "Flowering Season" in Damon Knight's anthology Orbit 1 (1966), and "On the Wall of the Lodge" (1962) in collaboration with James Blish. Her anthologies included Saving Worlds (1973, with Roger Elwood), Millennial Women (1978), and two co-edited with Ursula K. Le Guin, Edges and Interfaces (both 1980). Kidd was best known, beginning in the 1960s, as an agent.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction notes that she become known for her feminist views and for representing a highly capable range of feminist authors; at one time, the SFWA Directory listed over two dozen members as current clients of the Virginia Kidd Agency, Inc.

Personal Life[edit]

A Philadelphia native, Kidd resided for many years in Milford, PA; her house there was called Arrowhead, from which she operated her namesake literary agency, and where it continues as her legacy.

From 1943–47, she was married to Major Jacob Bernard “Jack” Emden (ca. 1921–2003), a baritone opera singer and possibly a descendant of a famous 18th-century rabbi; they had a daughter, Karen Anne Emden (1944–1984). After divorcing Emden, Virginia married sf critic and author James Blish in 1947; they had three children: Asa Benjamin (December 10, 1947–January 13, 1948), Dorothea Elisabeth (b. 1954; married name, Genly) and Charles Benjamin Blish (b. 1956). Virginia divorced Blish in 1963, and resumed her maiden name.

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