September is always a busy month. Milford takes up threequarters of it (with the prep, the actual event and the recovery time afterwards). I only had four days at home before Fantasycon in Scarborough (see next post).
So… Milford SF Writers’ Conference is a one-week event for fifteen published writers of SF in its widest sense (i.e. speculative fiction encompassing science fiction, fantasy and associated subgenres).
We get togather at Trigonos in North Wales – within sight of Mount Snowdon – and spend the week talking shop, reading and critiquing each other’s work in progress,. socialising, playing games, eating and quaffing. If you want to know more about how Milford works, visit the website at http://www.milfordSF.co.uk and there you can find all you ever wanted to know and more, including Milford’s 44 year history in the UK and details of the exciting bursary for two writers of colour to attend in 2017. Bursary applications opened today.
This year the writers who attended were: L-R standing: John Moran, Dave Gullen, Terry Jackman, David Allan, Guy T Martland, Jim Anderson, Liz Williams, Jacey Bedford, Glen Mehn, Elizabeth Counihan, Lizzy Priest. Kneeling L-R: Sue Thomason, Amy Tibbetts, Pauline Morgan, Siobhan McVeigh.
We had a great mix of people this year. Everyone is published, of course. In order to attend Milford you have to have sold at least one short story. Some attendees are first and foremost short story writers, and others concentrate on novels. Several have sold multiple novels to major publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. People come from all over the UK and this year we also had one visiting American. (This is not unusual. Since Milford started in the USA in 1956, long before James Blish brought it to the UK in 1972 there have always been transatlantic ties.)
We blogged every day on the new-ish Milford blog and you can read what people wrote here: https://milfordsfwriters.wordpress.com/
Trigonos certainly doesn’t let us go hungry. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are shored up by elevenses and cake o’clock around four each afternoon. The fruit bowl is always available and there’s 24/7 access to teas and coffees. This is a simple lunch. There’s always a superb soup, fresh homemade bread, a quiche or fritata or (in this instance cheesy jacket spuds) with a variety of fresh salads grown on the premises.
Of course, being writers, we also fuel up on chocolate, especially during the formal crit sessions.
Below, Dave Gullen, Terry Jackman and Guy T Martland at a crit session. They don’t look too scary, do they?
Crit sessions are always good-hearted whilst being rigorous and constructive. This year I took the opening of my upcoming novel, Nimbus only to be told by everyone that it didn’t need the flashback… so I came home and began to prune. They’re right, of course. It’s another case of ‘kill your darlings!’
The surroundings are beautiful. This is the view from the main house own to the lake (Nantlle) in the early morning. The mist is rising and the sun is just beginning to burn through. There’s another beautiful day ahead. Of course, this is North Wales in September, so anything can happen, weather-wise.
Mornings are quiet. You can read, catch up with your crits, write, walk along the lake-shore, pop into Caernarfon (9 miles away) to ogle the castle or buy yourself some Welsh tourist souvenirs.
Here’s David Allan, deep in thought in the Trigonos library.
Milford is all about writing. I always come home with my writerly batteries recharged and already looking forward to next year’s event.
Milford is popular. At the time of writing twelve of the fifteen places for September 2017 have been filled and we already have five places booked for 2018. Because we like to encourage new people to come we always ringfence places for new writers up to Easter of the year in which Milford takes place. Of course it’s first come first served and those new writer places can book up early, too.