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Milford 2022
10th - 17th September

at Trigonos, Nantlle, North Wales

2022 Group

Left to right. Mike Verant, Liz Williams, Fiona Moore, John Biglands, Gaie Sebold (middle), Jacey Bedford (front), Dave Gullen (back), Jim Anderson (middle), Dolly Garland (front), Mike Lewis (half-hidden, back), Steph Bianchini (front), Sarah K Ellis (half hidden, back), Ramya Jegatheesan, Somto Ihezue.

Another Milford has come and gone. We had a wonderful time with some serious hard work and sociable evenings in the library with much laughter (and not a little wine).

Milford Report - 2022
by Ramya Jegatheesan

RamyaThe weeks leading up to the Milford conference did not bode well. A whole bevy of train strikes and rail line cancellations meant some very frantic and desperate emails begging any stranger who would have me for a ride to Trigonos.  The weather looked wet and miserable. And then to top it all off, a very powerful, rich, famous old lady died a few days before the conference began. All in all, an ominous lead-up. 
I’d already been worried about the conference. I had agonised about applying for a bursary place - would I get it? Was my writing speculative enough for Milford? Was my writing good enough for Milford? Was I good enough???

I was momentarily thrilled when I was offered a place - and then I started worrying all over again. Would I fit in? Would the other writers be nice? Was my writing speculative enough?  Was I good enough?!

But my enjoyment of the week was in direct proportion to how much I’d worried. Milford regular and Most Egregious Token Male (official committee title) offered me a ride to the conference. Everyone I met there was wonderfully nice, ridiculously interesting and genuinely a pleasure to drink copious amounts of alcohol and shoot the shit with. The other writers were knowledgeable, their feedback given with much thought and care and there was a sense of egalitarian community and mutual helping out. I think the committee members, especially Liz and Jacey, purposefully and intentionally work towards a welcoming, open atmosphere and it really pays off. By the end of the week, you couldn’t tell who were the regulars and who were Milford first-timers. 

The week was structured, the day broken up by multiple opportunities to eat and lots of free time to do your own thing. Breakfast, elevenses (homemade biscuits and tea/coffee), lunch, then the crit sessions, followed by homemade cake and tea/coffee, and then dinner. We rounded off the evening with drinking and talking in the library. The feedback or ‘crit’ sessions took place after lunch and was usually finished by cake time - and if they weren’t, we’d break for cake time before returning to finish the last piece. I’d got most of the reading done at home (which I would strongly recommend) so most of the day for me was spent walking in the Trigonos grounds, Snowdon in the background, the lake twinkling beatifically or walking down to Dorothea Quarry (also called Mordor by Milford regulars) to explore among decomposing slate houses and rusting quarry machinery.  One memorable night saw me going for a nighttime, moonlit lake dip which was well worth the skinned and bruised knee. 

So, having agonised about this all, what advice do I have for you? Well buckle in, here’s a list: 

1)        Just do it. Stop hemming and hawing, stop chewing your lip/pen/fingers and apply. If you’re Milford qualified (which means you’ve sold at least one speculative short story or novel), then book your place. If you’re Milford qualified and a writer of colour, apply for the bursary. Do it, do it, do it. It’s a fairly easy process and you have no reason not to. It’s so worth it.
2)         Do the reading before you turn up so you can make full use of the lakeside walks, Modor, cake time and chat time.
3)        Bring inside shoes. You’ll appreciate having something comfy and not covered in rabbit poo. 
4)        You don’ttechnically need to bring any extra food. Trigonos feed you four times a day, are very good at accommodating dietary requirements and there are always chocolates during the crit sessions. If you really want to bring something to eat, bring something savoury.
5)        If you don’t drink alcohol, I’d recommend bringing your virgin tipple of choice. There’s no chance of running out of alcohol in the evenings but the delicious Trigonos-made cordials are usually put away by then and you might want something to choke on as the conversations get funnier and more surreal. 
6)        Write down every book every person mentions. They will all sound interesting and you will forget every single one when you get back home.
7) Just do it.

My normal life is a series of to-do lists and post-it notes. I didn’t realise how relaxed and centred I’d felt at Trigonos until I got back home. It’s probably the beautiful scenery, Snowdon winking in the background, and the long countryside walks. Or being really well fed on homegrown, home-cooked food. Or just spending the evenings ‘being’, talking with wonderful people and getting to enjoy life and company. Milford was so good for my mental health and that has only been good for my writing, too.

All in all, it was the week of writerly dreams.  I got back home buoyed and encouraged about my work in progress and disappointed that this couldn’t be my life forever. If only there was a tiny bubble planet where 15 writers could walk in the shadow of mountains, eat tomatoes, drink wine and laugh about Space Jesus forever…


Milford Report - 2022
by Somto Ihezue

SomtoGetting into Milford was a dream. I still can’t fit my excitement into words. I remember applying after I found out Suyi Davies had attended in the past. I initially didn’t think I could get in, but seeing another Nigerian on that blog post was the push I needed. I also never thought I’d make it to the United Kingdom. There were too many stories of the setbacks Nigerians and Africans at large faced in a bid to travel across borders, and I was resigned to my looming fate. When the visa came, it was a mixture of feelings. Things were starting to fall into place, but things were also starting to get real. Only then did it truly register — I was going to Milford.

So I packed my stuff, boarded my first flight to London, and then hitched a ride to Wales. I drove down with Fiona, Dolly, and Mike. They were the most excellent company, and the trip was serene—though I slept through most of it. The jetlag was still taking its toll. We eventually got to Trigonos, and the nerves kicked in. In a foreign country, surrounded by new people, I could sparsely breathe. This would also be my first time in a space filled with more than a dozen writers. But from the very first person who welcomed me, there was this warmth and a super welcoming atmosphere. An atmosphere that said, “You belong here.”

And not only did I belong, for that one week, Milford was also home. Writing this, I remember it all so vividly. The food was new, but a cascade of flavor. The squash, the chocolate cake, the oat milk, the berries, the coffee, and the biscuits—which made me feel like I was in a British sitcom. I remember the evenings in the library where we had wine and laughed and the stories would fill up every inch of the room. Jacey wrote down all the stuff that was too hilariously precious to let go. Space Jesus comes to mind. I can still see Mike sitting on the floor like some monk moonlighting as a mathematics professor.

The evenings in the library usually went on late into the night and saw us scurrying off to bed a little tipsy. I remember the room where I slept. It was freezing the first night and I didn’t say anything ‘cause I assumed everyone in Wales just slept in the biting cold. Coming from the tropics where heaters are a non-existent thing, the one right in the room didn’t occur to me. I eventually figured it out, and I remember the coziness, the incredibly soft bed, and the bathroom gel that smelled of lost memories.

The critique sessions kicked off right away, and they were just great. You get to witness this wealth of knowledge, skill, and experience. There was an air of sincerity and kindness in which everyone approached each other’s stories, and it was just wonderful to see. I will eternally be grateful for all the wholesome and encouraging words. There was also chocolate. Loads and loads of it. I might have had a few bites too much, and I’d eat all over again if I got the chance. After my stories got critiqued and I went back to the notes, I just went, “Woah, thanks for all the free feedback. People pay money for this”. Incorporating the suggestions and pointers had my stories coming out better and stronger.

The crit sessions came to an end on Friday, leaving me with ample time to just lay around. It was in this idleness that Ramya reminded me she’d jumped in the lake on a random night. Many people don’t know this, but I have a penchant for getting into the most chaotic situations. So, come midnight, I threw a blanket over myself and headed down to the lake. It was dark. Frighteningly dark. I badgered on, through the field, and down to the water. There, I took off all my clothes, the cold breeze finding all the corners of my body, and slid into the waters. That was when the panic and sense of self-preservation kicked in. Looking at the lake was different from being in it. It was the large immersing thing and then there was me—a boy who couldn’t swim. I was properly terrified. I flailed out of the water, splashing and wheezing. As I raced back across the field, freezing my butt off, it occurred to me, what if I had been taken by wolves or fairies? Poor Jacey and Liz would have to travel down to Nigeria to inform my parents. I honestly didn’t think the whole thing through.

Okay, rounding it up, to everyone who wants to experience the beauty, warmth, friendship, and wealth of knowledge that Milford offers, take out your phone, or laptop, or scroll, whatever works for you, and pen down that application. Believe me, it’ll be infinitely worth it. And there’s this tradition thingy Liz did at the end. I can’t share it ‘cause it’s supposed to be a secret, but it was the most beautiful thing. Honestly, words can’t appropriately describe it, you just have to experience it. The only downside to Milford is that you might spend the rest of your life daydreaming and wanting nothing more than to go back. I miss everyone terribly, and it broke my heart to leave. For the record, I’m bawling out my eyes at this point. Oh, I can’t wait to tell my kids—whom I don’t have yet—about Milford.

Milford wasn’t just a place or a gathering. It was a feeling. I want to exist in that feeling forever.


Committee elected at the AGM, September 2022

  • Chair: Liz Williams
  • Secretary: Jacey Bedford
  • Treasurer: Kari Sperring
  • Dave Gullen (Recent ex chair)
  • Jim Anderson (Most Egregious Token Male)
  • Tiffani Angus (Academic advisor)
  • Pete Sutton (Anthology editor)


Milford Sayings 2022 - taken out of context, just because we can!

  • “Ruling Hell is not a standard career path.”
  • “My late mother-in-law was a wall-of-death rider.”
  • “It’s a good wine to spill carpet on.”
  • “I just googled patriotic corset to see what you get.”
  • “I would buy a Milford corset.”
  • “Who doesn't love Space Jesus?”
  • I like the idea of Jesus fan-fic.”
  • “I'm sorry, I've just had three glasses of wine, my filter didn't kick in.”
  • “Don't poke the mathematician.”
  • “Talking about aliens in swimsuits...”
  • “Can you conjugate cunnilingus?” / “Yes, but I can never decline it.”
  • “No, dear, Jesus is not a lion.”
  • “And then there’s the part with the Octopus…”
  • “See, Mom and Dad, tentacle porn is a thing.”
  • “And then I was sobbing with the toilet brush in my hand.”
  • “Based on the Book of the Whatd’yamacallits.”
  • “I can’t remember; it’s too subtle.”
  • “That movie was like the monster ate by Lands End Catalogue.”
  • "It did have the zombie wheel of cheese."
  • ”Why do they say you’re a cat? Do you lick yourself?”
  • “Failing that, you could just have a front garden of headless dolls.”
  • Most of the assholes I like are actually dead, so that’s OK.”
  • “I’ll just go back and monitor the cat flap.” #Bob is in the building
  • “My comfort movie has a body count.”
  • “The teaching was fine, I’ve just got this murderous streak.”
  • "We never let old bananas go.
  • “And the snake said ‘I spent this fucking long getting rid of my fucking legs and now you’ve given me fucking wheels.’”
  • “When I was young I was not as nice a man as I am now. There’s a part of me that’s keeping the rest of me in check.”
  • “They have a rant in a bar and are never seen again.”
  • “I wasn’t making fun of you; I was just trying to establish parameters.”
  • “Let’s do it in the library ‘cos some of us are okay to start drinking at four.”
  • “We’re not burglars, we’re Canadians.”
  • “I was trying to set up a hi-fi-what-spot.”
  • “I’ve never heard Hendrix on spoons before.”
  • “The noise that woke me up at night was machine gun fire. That was a bit weird.”
  • “I chased her out of the shop screaming, ‘What colour is the sky on your fucking world?’”
  • “My unexpected noise moment was a very different scenario.”
  • “Talking about unexpected noises…”
  • “There are different sizes of infinity; don’t get me started.”
  • “It broke my heart in a really good way.”
  • “I’m always fond of harrowing emotions.”
  • “I’m glad the internet wasn’t around when I was writing teenage angst poetry.”
  • “Treat your reader as if they’re dumb in order to make them feel clever.”
  • “Does not work with bears.”


Web pages by: Jacey Bedford