Brittany's Emerald Coast, photo by Oscar Nigam

ABOUT

Milena writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and the occasional poem. Her work has appeared in YARN, Pithead Chapel, Slice, Full Grown People, The Fourth River, Hippocampus Magazine, and elsewhere. In addition, her story, "Switchbacks," was recently nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize. Milena is a nonfiction editor at the online journal, Halfway Down the Stairs, and has recently completed a short story collection.

Milena's writing is inspired primarily by setting and atmosphere: the high cliffs of Cancale overlooking an ocean swimming pool revealed at low tide; the fog rolling in over ascending switchbacks in the Spanish Pyrenees; the swollen Mwongo River carrying trading rafts piled high with plastic shoes and containers of gasoline, the river bottom lined in silky sediment. Her prose is evocative and poetic, and her characters ache while trying to tame what is unrestrainable. Milena tells their stories with a compassion that begs for judgment to be withheld while characters struggle to control what they can.

Milena was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, grew up in Concord, Massachusetts and now lives with her family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Along the way, she has made stops in Ithaca, New York; Rennes and Paris, France; Warsaw, Poland; Yaoundé, Cameroon; and Lucknow, India. Before turning to writing full-time, Milena was a cognitive psychologist and directed a non-profit evaluation group serving children and families.

 

"[Milena's] use of language and imagery is breathtaking."

"The descriptions were original, vivid, and the characters' exhaustion and dread grew palpable during the later portion of their climb." 

"[The story] explores relationships and body politics beautifully, and has such crisp dialogue and a smart narrative voice."

"We loved the powerful and simple way the details of the story unfolded."