Milford banner

Home / About / Writers' Retreats / Blog / Bursaries for Writers of Colour / Anthology / Links / Success Stories / Committee & Contact

All about Milford SF Writers' Conference - and how to book.

Milford 2024 is fully booked.
Please contact the secretary to go on the waiting list

HERE'S A BOOKING FORM for MILFORD 2025

Prices: 2025: £765 full week for bed, breakfast and evening meal.
A non-refundable deposit of £200 is payable on booking.
Balance payable 12 weeks before the event. (Non-refundable unless you can 'sell' your place to another writer.)

Questions? Email the secretary jacey@jaceybedford.co.uk

Gladstones LibraryVENUE: Gladstones Library, Church Lane, Hawarden, Flintshire, North WalesCH5 3DF. (Close to Chester)

The conference is the longest-running SF writers' event in the UK. It has been a regular (and almost) annual occurrence since 1972, drawing members from the UK, Europe, America, Asia and Australia. It has settled into a comfortable, workable format: demanding and exhausting, but also convivial. In short, it's a social as well as a literary event--a chance to connect with other writers.

Cut the explanations, I already know all I need to know. Take me to the booking form.

Many famous names have passed through Milford in its (more than) five decades in the UK. : Anne McCaffrey, Brian Aldiss, Bruce Sterling, Charles Stross, Chris Priest, Diana Wynne Jones, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Alastair Reynolds, Jaine Fenn, Karen Traviss, Kari Sperring and Liz Williams. Some attendees are novel-writers, others specialise in short stories

Minimum qualification for attending Milford

  • Minimum qualification for attending Milford is one fiction sale to any recognised market.

What Happens

  • Writers give and receive critique of ongoing work, discuss ideas, and socialise.
  • At least 2 weeks before the event, each participant submits up to 10,000 - 12,000 words in one or two pieces (short stories or novel excepts) for critting.
  • The pieces are timetabled for critique using the Milford Method throughout the week.We encourage constructive rather than destructive critique. It's the work being critiqued, not the individual authors.

Milford Method

  • Milford rules allow even the shyest member's voice to be heard.
  • Each participant, in rotation, spends up to three minutes (timed) giving their critique of the work at hand. Once the three minute timer goes off, you may complete your sentence to wind up.
  • No interruption, whether by the author or anyone else, is allowed during this stage of the proceedings.
  • After everyone has spoken the author gets an uninterrupted right of reply.
  • This is followed by a more general discussion.

Outline of the Week

  • Beforehand — Participants must distribute their manuscripts by email at least 2 weeks before the workshop begins, and preferably 4 weeks. This gives people the chance to read MS in advance, reducing the workload during the week itself. You will already have had the week's timetable, setting out when each MS will be discussed.
  • Day 1 — Arrive any time. You can get into your room from 4 p.m. onwards, but if you arrive early you can use the library or the common room, or visit the cafe. There's no programme on the first day, just dinner at Gladstone's, and getting to know each other afterwards in the comfy common room.
  • Daily Timetable — Breakfast from 8.00 to 9.30. Lunch (optional) is 1.00 . Dinner at 6.30 p.m. (You make your choice from the dinner menu at breakfast.)
  • Day 2 - Day 6 — These are the main working days. Mornings are free. Critique sessions are in the afternoons, from 2.00 p.m. until 5.00 p.m.-ish). As a resident you can work in the library any time between 9.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m.
  • Day 5 — Milford is legally constituted so that the current 'members' (i.e. this year's attendees) are obliged to hold an AGM and elect officers for the coming year, thus each Milford provides for the next. It takes about half an hour after dinner.
  • Day 6 — The evening generally includes a markets session, discussing where the week's pieces could usefully be submitted on completion.
  • Day 7 — Usually this is a free day, in which we can visit nearby places of interest, but it's always a fall-back day in case the workload is too heavy and additional critting time has to be scheduled.
  • Day 8 — Depart after breakfast. Or you can stick around to write for a few hours as long as you vacate your room by 10 a.m.
  • Afterwards — Attendees go on the Milford mail list. Groups often keep in touch. If your story is published please let us know for our Success Stories page.

Preparation

  • Our one truly inflexible requirement is that you must send, in advance, one or two pieces of unpublished work for critique. Aim for below 10,000 words in total, but you can run a little over if necessary. 12,000 words is a hard cut-off. Complete stories or novel excerpts are acceptable. Leading and/or trailing synopses must be in your document and included in your word count.
  • Works may be any kind of speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy, horror, or ambiguous genres such as slipstream, alt. history etc. (for adults or children).
  • Correct manuscript format isn't necessarily required as long as it's clear and readable. Word docs are the norm, but you can also submit in RTF.
  • What to bring. Just yourself and your work. If you haven't been to North Wales in September before, please be aware that the weather can be changeable. Dress is whatever you feel comfortable in. We're not very formal. There are walks around Hawarden village and through the castle grounds (though the castle itself is privately owned).
  • There's an honesty bar in the common room. Write what you've had in the book and pay at the end of the week.

Venue

  • Gladstone's Library is the only residential Library in the UK. Yes, it was built by THAT William Gladstone, Queen Victoria's prime minister, and is now a registered charity.
  • It is 8 miles from Chester, accessible by taxi, bus or train. (there is a station in the village or it might be more convenient to take the train to Chester and share a taxi from there with other participants.
  • As a resident you have full use of the library itself. It's pin-drop silent, so please respect other people's work space.
  • Gladstones is a Victorian Gothic building with the library, restaurant, comfy common room and well-appointed ensuite bedrooms, each complete with a writing desk and radio. There are two accessible ground floor rooms as well as bedrooms on the first and second floors..
  • There is a dedicated light and airy conference room on the ground floor.
  • Accommodation is bed, breakfast and evening meal. The menu choice includes vegan, vegetarian and meat meals. There are tea/coffee making facilities in your room or the cafe serves lattes etc. all day. You can buy lunch in the cafe or there is a coffee-shop in the village, and pubs, plus a small post office and general store. There's also a pharmacy in the village (closed on Saturdays). Everything is within very easy walking distance.

How to Sign Up, and What it Costs

  • The total cost of the Milford week in 2025 is £765 for accommodation in a single ensuite room. There is a ceiling of 15 members with a deposit payable on initial booking of £200. This includes your Milford admin fee of £25. You should note that your deposit is not returnable in the event that you decide to cancel. [See cancellation policy below.]
  • The balance is due to Milford twelve weeks before the event.
  • Once the event fills up, there is a waiting list (in case someone drops out) which you can join by filling in the application form and paying the deposit. The Milford treasurer will hold this until the booking is either confirmed or cancelled. If no one drops out and you don't get a place you will get a full refund or you can take a place on the next available Milford and carry your deposit over.
  • A few places will be ring-fenced for Milford first-timers until the Easter weekend immediately before. (Though it can book up earlier than this.) Once that deadline has passed any unsold places are open to everyone on a first come, first served basis. If we already have a waiting list they will be at the front of the queue when places open up.
  • Go here for booking details

Cancellation - The Small Print Writ Large

  • We advise Milford attendees to take out cancellation insurance to protect themselves from loss in the case of lost deposits/full fees. We regret that we can't refund deposits once paid if you change your mind. PLEASE NOTE IN THE EVENT OF A NATIONAL COVID/PANDEMIC CANCELLATION, DEPOSITS ARE REFUNDABLE OR CAN BE ROLLED ON TO A FUTURE MILFORD.
  • Once the balance of payment has been made there is no refund if you don't attend, though we will try to re-sell your place if possible (or you can do it for yourself) .
  • Non-payment of the balance owed 12 weeks before the event might mean you lose your place. Talk to us if you have a problem.

Inclusion and Equal Opportunities - (From our constitution.

  • STATEMENT OF INCLUSION. Milford shall be open to all professionally published writers of SF/F, over the age of eighteen and writing in English. Writers under the age of eighteen may attend at the discretion of the committee if accompanied by a parent or guardian or designated responsible adult (with written permission of parent or guardian).
  • EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICY. All published writers of SF/F are welcome, regardless of gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age, or planet of origin. Milford will always do its very best to select venues with level access for writers with mobility problems and to comply with all the laws of the land regarding physical access.

 

Web site design by Jacey Bedford