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Milford Bursaries for Writers of Colour


Due to the generosity of the committee of the 2012 and 2018 Eastercons, and an anonymous (writer) donor, Milford SF
Writers' Conference is offering two bursaries for self-identifying science fiction/fantasy writers of colour (BAME)  to
attend the 2019 Milford SF Writers' Conference in the UK which takes place from 14th to 21st September. The location is
Trigonos, Nantlle, North Wales (9 miles south of Caernarfon).

Suyi Davies Okungbowa “Milford is everything you want in a residential workshop. Great food, breathtaking views, super respectful crits. What’s even better is getting to attend this without paying a kobo for registration or residency. Teatimes where there’s actually tea and food? Sociable evenings with lots of drinks and chocolate? Visits to a little town in North Wales that could be navigated end-to-end in under 3 hours? Count me in anytime. And anyone who gets the opportunity to apply to be a part of this, definitely should.” - Suyi Davies Okungbowa










In 2017, our bursary recipients were Suyi Davies Okungbowa, from Lagos, Nigeria and Dolly Garland from London, UK.
In 2018 our recipients were Nisi Shawl from the USA and Rochita Loenen Ruiz, a Filipina writer, currently resident in the

Nisi Shawl

Nisi Shawl

Rochita Loenen Ruiz

Rochita Loenen Ruiz

Scroll down to read Rochita's moving account of her time at Milford.















We have now opened applications for our 2019 bursaries. They close on 28th February 2019. Successful applicants will
be notified in March 2019 and must confirm acceptance or decline within a week of notification.


Writers from all over the world (far and near) are invited to apply as long as they write in English. Applicants must be
'Milford qualified' (i.e at least one SF story sale to a recognised market).

Each bursary will cover the cost of the conference fee and full board accommodation (i.e. room and all meals). The
bursary value is approximately £650. The bursary does not cover the cost of transport to or from the conference
from either inside or outside the UK. Should a successful applicant be unable to take up the offer of a bursary,
there is no cash value, and no guarantee that we will be able to offer a bursary in a future year.

If you are applying for a bursary you can't pay the deposit to hold on to a paid place at Milford 'just in case' you don't get
the bursary place. There are only fifteen places in total at any one Milford. Two are ringfenced for bursary writers, a further
are ringfenced for Milford first-timers, which leaves only ten places available for writers who have attended before.
These places are always in high demand, so it wouldn't be fair if you reserved a place that you didn't really intend to use.
Besides, you would lose your non-refundable deposit of £150 if you cancelled the paid place on getting the bursary.

Thank you to all previous applicants. If you have applied unsuccessfully in the past, you are welcome to apply again.
Applications are open now. Please download the application form here with full details of how to apply. In the
meantime if you have any questions, please contact the Milford secretary.

Our bursary scheme is intended to be an encouragement and not a quota. We have a limited number of bursaries available,
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, subject to availability.

We are delighted to say that thanks to the kind generosity of Dr Anthony Francis we have funding for two more bursaries
in 2020. (Applications for those will open in September 2019.) If you are interested in helping to fund our bursary
programnme for future years, please contact the secretary.

Milford secretary:

Dolly Garland I eventually found my way to writing fiction based in Indian culture, after trying my hand at what I thought was normal (fantasy with white characters). Returning to my root culture was, for me, a necessity to find my authentic voice. Milford's bursary is extremely valuable for people like me. It encourages the simple truth that we do need more diversity in our literature so that every writer doesn't pick up a pen thinking writing white characters is the normal thing to do. - Dolly Garland















On Going to Milford and the Value of a Bursary

By Rochita Loenen Ruiz

I had given up on writing.

Or at least I thought I had.

I lost my husband in 2015. After that, I lost my sister. In the same year that I lost my sister, I lost my father.

Each of these losses came at a moment when I thought to myself, let me pick up the pen and write again.

After a while, the losses overshadowed my desire to write. I looked at the words and they made no sense.

Well, I said to myself. I suppose this means writing has left me.

And I thought I should do my best to be happy without writing. And for a while, I really thought I was happy without
the writing. Except I really wasn’t.

Every once in a while, I would go back to the written work. I would write. Run out of energy. Sink into despair.

‘There’s no point in courting the muse, when she’s not ready to be courted,’ is what I told myself.

So, when the email came from Jacey Bedford telling me that there had been a unanimous vote to offer me a
bursary for the Milford writers workshop. I did not know how to answer. Could I go when I felt like the world’s
shittiest writer?

How would I manage that? How could I possibly leave my children and go away for a week?

I thought of my sister and the conversation we had before we parted ways that final time.

‘You must write,’ she said. ‘If you stop writing, I’ll never talk to you again.’

The funny thing is how a good friend repeated those same words to me.

‘Go,’ she said. ‘You must go or I won’t speak to you again.’

The thing about receiving a bursary when you are lost in the wasteland is how it becomes a beacon in the
darkness. For the first time in a long time, I began to hope.

As the days passed and as Milford took on a more solid form inside my head. The urge to write and to write
more and to write something that meant something to me began to grow.

I then decided to let go of all my previous plans for what I should write and simply write as a way of reaching
out to my sister.

I wrote a lot of words that ended up getting discarded, but I was writing almost everyday.

Then, on a visit to the mountains, I felt my sister’s presence. I remembered how I used to be terrified of tumbling
down the side of the mountain and of how I wouldn’t go down the mountainside to school if she didn’t come back
up and hold my hand. Even when she was exasperated, she would climb back up to where I was, reach out her
hand and take hold of mine. The memory of that moment is distilled in the novel excerpt I submitted to Milford.

Milford stays with me as a moment of brightness.  I learned from the work of my fellow writers, and I learned
from the way they looked at the various works offered for criticque. 

More than the writing and the reading of the work and more than the getting to know other writers, I have
become more convinced that there are more of us who would rather build bridges than walls. There is a grace
in creating space where conversations and dialogues are possible without the harsh stridency we see in the
world today.

I am very thankful to everyone who made my Milford week possible. I am thankful for the generosity and
kindness of those who voted for me as one of the bursary recipients for 2018 and I am thankful for the individuals
who made and who continue to make the bursary possible for the coming years.

On my second day in Wales, Liz Williams and Kari Sperring took me for a drive to the beach at Trefor. We
walked and we talked, and on the way back we were gifted with the sight of a double rainbow stretching out
over the waters. We stopped to take pictures and as we stood there, I felt very blessed. I was with beloved
friends and I was writing again.

I wrote more than 10,000 words while I was at Milford and came home with close to a quarter of a novel.
I am writing still.



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