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Milford 2023
16th - 23rd September

at Trigonos, Nantlle, North Wales

Milford Group 2023

L-R: Jacey Bedford, Janet Forbes, Ida Keogh, Siobhan McVeigh, Marielle Verdijk, Akotowaa ofori, Jim Anderson, Neon Yang, Liz Williams, Tiffani Angus, Chris McCartney, Sue Oke, Powder Thompson, Pauline Dungate.


Milford Report by Janet Forbes

In the too-many months since Milford (sorry Jacey!), this assignment has been the phantom lurking on my to-do list. How should I explain a writing week, about a group of writers, to another group of writers, in writing? With that in mind, let me tell you my Milford experience.

I first discovered Milford online and had very little context for it - no personal recommendations, just a Reddit thread that said it was “something like Clarion but in the UK”. Alumni like Neil Gaimen and George R.R. Martin popped up. I was, of course, terrified. But it’s good to do things that terrify you, so I ignored the crushing brain goblins and applied anyway.

After initially being shocked I had even been accepted for the week (What have I done? I wondered), the “introduce yourself” email came. Oh dear lord, how do I introduce myself? Have I forgotten who I am? What even is my name?

Well, it seemed that everyone else was in the same boat, and totally charming about it. Instead of glossy, professional bios and cold, hard bragging, everyone introduced themselves in a very human way - even the rather big names with very large stacks of books behind them.

And I suppose that really set the tone for the whole Milford week: whether you had a PhD in writing, decades of experience in the publishing industry, or you would just starting out and finding your voice (see for reference: me), everyone was thoroughly welcome, everyone was respectful and constructive in their feedback, and everyone was kind.

Coming from overseas, the next issue was how on Earth was I going to get to the middle of sodding nowhere? From shared train rides and taxis, to the very kind offer of a lift from Birmingham in a car (thanks again for an awesome journey, Pauline!), I needn’t have worried. We all made it in one piece and, like in the stories, we made friends on the way.

From there, there were plenty of people to answer questions - and boy, did I have a lot of them. I had a room in the rabbit hutches, where I found the toilet roll holder doubled as a magnificent spider-mashing lance. And I was inducted by old hands in the ways of Milford Cake Hour. There was always someone sharing out wine or snacks or wacky anecdotes. There was the air of old friends and collaboration.

If you've been to Milford before you'll be familiar with the core practice:  mornings are free, afternoons I spent in the critique Circle, giving 3 minutes of feedback apiece on an author's work. This was all new to me, and I was so happy to see how kind and respectful each author was, and how varied and insightful most of the criticism. The group was diverse in background and experience, and that really helped bring different perspectives to the feedback, which made it incredibly useful.

If you’re considering Milford, and you’re worried you won’t be welcome - then stop that thought in its tracks. I’ve never been among such friendly, welcoming writers before. And if you’re wondering if it’s worth it, then just do it. Apply. It’s an unparalleled experience.



Milford Sayings, taken out of context... just because we can.

  • I think about getting bodies out of places all the time, don't you?
  • I lived in a trailer when I was a child.
    So did I, but I still have standards.
  • It wasn't quite what I was aiming for, but I like it.
  • I don't think you take a pick to a rock fall unless you want a bigger rock fall.
  • I'm happy if they kill each other. Go for it!
  • When I wrote the founders I thought, 'Oh, God, I've written founders.'
  • Unless, of course, it's a fairy tale, in which case knickers don't matter.
  • ...hog-whimperingly drunk...
  • I was trying to write a novel and ended up writing world-building software by accident.
  • I have an early-warning duckie because that's what you need in your life.
  • You don't look like a man who needs a mandrake.
  • If you see inanimate objects as people, then a tape measure is very flirtatious.
  • And then the beer gods show up...
  • I have a friend who fired her spirit guides because they were not performing to her expectations.
  • When I was a child I was pissed on by a tiger at Bristol Zoo.
  • ...and I would shout, 'Penis duty.'
  • My friend's grandma took out a cobra with a throwing axe.
  • Take a drink every time Jim mentions Columbo.
  • Some sentences are so beautiful I want to frame them.
  • You focus on gold, I'll take the dead children.
  • I was a crash test dummy for someone once.
  • My friend's handwriting is so bad that you could take it to a pharmacy and get it made up.
  • The undergraduate in me that studied formal logic appreciates that remark.
  • The guiding aesthetic principle here is - more is more.
  • Beatrice talks to donkeys.
  • It's like taking drugs without taking drugs.
  • It's the weirdest place I've ever been to - and the bar is high.
  • This fucking plot! All I have to do is execute it, but I'd rather execute myself.
  • It was the whale that did me in.
  • I'll stop thinking about codpieces if you mention Queen Victoria.
  • Would you like my spiders?
  • Dinosaur porn is a thing.
  • Jesus's foreskin is the rings of Saturn.
  • If you turn 21 and you're still at the house, your mother will eat you.
  • I'd almost forgotten you could write.


Gladstone's Libraryin 2024 Milford is moving to Gladstone's Library, which will be a different, but equally engaging experience. Milford books up quickly. At the trime of writing there is one place open to all applicants, plus two places reserved for our Writers of Colour bursary recipients.

Web pages by: Jacey Bedford