Guests of Honour


Lauren sitting on a bar stool holding a banjo upright, with a guitar standing against a wall on her right

Lauren Oxford

Lauren Oxford (formerly Lauren Cox before marrying in April 2022) is a songwriter, folksinger, and multi-instrumentalist who stumbled into filk by befriending Cat Faber, who is still her very favorite convention travel partner. Her songs are deeply emotional excavations, full of unexpected chords and crystalline imagery that grab listeners and drag them into her deepest feelings. Though they reward close listening, it's also easy to just sit back and be enveloped in the earthiness of her velvety alto voice. Don't be fooled by the intensity of her songs, however: she lights up any room she's in with infectious enthusiasm, a goofy sense of humor, and a love for people that radiates like light. She is a four-time Pegasus nominee, twice for Best Writer/Composer in 2018 and 2019, and twice for Best Performer in 2020 and 2021. Her self-titled debut album was recorded with dear filk friends and released at the end of 2022; it's available digitally, on streaming, and on CD. Lauren makes her home in the lush Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee with her wife Emma (a graphic designer & illustrator for a nonprofit partner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park) and their three cats, Ansel, Henri, and Alli.


Robert playing a banjo and singing into a microphone

Robert Beckwith

Robert discovered filk at the UK Eastercon in 2019. He had no inkling that he would ever write a song, but the line "Fly me to Mount Doom" popped into his head. He pulled on this line to see if it was attached to anything and discovered yet more lines. At around the same time he discovered the wonder of chords which was a delight after many years spent struggling and failing with sheet music - a door had opened and music was now possible.

His first Worldcon was in Dublin that year, and then DemiSemiQuaver slipped in just before the plague. Filking had begun.

Robert specialises in comic songs about geeky topics, usually mixing the exotic (that's an 'x' there) and mundane in some manner. He plays the ukulele and "strums" the piano and is working on all the aspects of performing or otherwise making music with others. He has won two SAM "silly song" awards and has recorded his first ever instrumental track for a CD (Flüsterbar - Silke Kovār). He finds music an excellent way to grow as a person and couldn't be more delighted that filking exists.

Guest Emeritus

Mike playing guitar jo and singing into a microphone

Mike Whitaker

Mike Whitaker has been at the heart of UK filk as long as UK filk has been a thing. As a conrunner and facilitator, general egger-on of schemes, gatherer of people and instigator of inspiration, guitar guru and of course songwriter and performer, there is a whole lot of music and community the credit for which can be laid at his doorstep.

Thing about Mike is, he knows how to take a line of words or a descriptor or a flavour of emotion, and find the story in it for the next song. Grain into flour; story into song.

Thing about Mike is, he gets enthusiastic so very delightfully, and he brings his wide skillset and considerable and impressive musical resources to the table with huge generosity and energy.

Thing about Mike is, he has a knack for making introductions between folks from his assorted friend-groups, who may come from very different settings among his varied interests and musical worlds. That includes of course hosting events at his home, The Mill House, which has hosted music and games and so much more.

It takes, after all, a very special kind of miller to mill strangers into friends, and stories into songs.

Thing about Mike is, oh SO MUCH this: he's fun to work with, and like many of us, interested in all manner of things beyond the realms of filk. He's extremely knowledgeable in a whole bunch of different areas and he's fun to talk to, and the other thing is: he's kind. Never undervalue that. Mike's a fine musician and crafter of songs, and an even better friend.

Mike's creativity and generosity have not gone unnoticed and led to Pegasus nominations, invitations to cons as Guest of Honour, and in 2010 Mike Whitaker was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame.

So, we are quite chuffed to have reeled him in as Guest Emeritus.