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My fellow panellist from Eastercon, Jacey Bedford, is not only a skilled and popular writer but also secretary of Milford… she is here today to explain what that is and how a writer of colour could end up attending it on a paid for bursary.

Milford SF Writers’ Conference and Bursaries for SF Writers of Colour

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I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for Milford I wouldn’t have my book deal. When I attended my first Milford back in 1998 I’d only sold one story professionally (the minimum qualification for attending.) . I was totally wet-behind-the-ears yet all of the ‘proper’ writers there didn’t make me feel inadequate in the slightest.

What’s Milford? I hear you say…

It’s a peer-to-peer week in which fifteen published writers of science fiction and fantasy (and all subgenres) get together to workshop and critique works in progress. Established in the USA in 1956 and brought to the UK by James Blish in 1972, many famous names have passed through from Anne McCaffrey, George R.R. Martin, and Samuel Delaney to Alastair Reynolds, Neil Gaiman, and Charles Stross. Held annually, it now takes place in rural North Wales in mid-September.

It’s exhilarating to be in writerly company in such a gorgeous location. We have the run of Trigonos, an ethically run community business which provides accommodation, meeting rooms, and home cooked food. (You will never starve at Trigonos. Did I mention that 4.00 p.m. was cake o’clock?) Set in its own grounds looking up the valley to Snowdon, Trigonos even has its own lake, though you sacrifice mobile phone signal for the rural beauty.

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Critiques are professional level, strict but fair, and everyone gets a chance to be heard. To be honest you learn as much from critiquing as being critiqued. Post-crit discussions often happen after dinner or through coffee-and-cake breaks. It’s not unusual to plot-noodle or to work out the details of how to wipe out the population of a small planet over breakfast.

An exciting new development is happening in 2017. We have bursaries for two self-identifying SF writers of colour to attend Milford. Funding has been donated by the 8Squared Eastercon, held a few years ago in Bradford, and by a writer who wishes to remain anonymous. The bursary (value £610) covers all conference and accommodation costs for the week at Trigonos, but doesn’t include the cost of transport to and from the event.

Details of how to apply for the bursaries are on the Milford website (see below). Application is by letter to a maximum of 2,000 words, posted or emailed along with an application form (downloadable from the website). Applications are open from 1st October 2016 to 28th February 2017. Up to two successful applicants will be notified by the end of March. If potential applicants have any questions before making an application please email me for guidance.

The bursary opportunity is intended to be an encouragement and not a quota. We only have two bursaries available, and only for 2017, however we operate an equal opportunities policy so all SF/F writers who are ‘Milford qualified’ are welcome to apply for the full-price Milford SF Writers’ Conference places in any year, subject to availability.

Here are our upcoming dates:

  • 10th – 17th September 2016, (now fully booked with a short waiting list).
  • 9th – 16th September 2017 (booking open now).
  • 15th – 22nd September 2018 (booking opens16th September 2016. )

 

You can find out more on our website: www.milfordSF.co.uk. Anyone who needs additional information about Milford or the bursaries can contact me, Jacey Bedford, Milford secretary, at <jacey@jaceybedford.co.uk>

 

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