Celebrating femininity and empathy through images and words



Thank you for your interest in the annual MOTHER’S MILK BOOKS WRITING PRIZE. We are now into our fifth year of running the competition. You can read the results of last year’s competition here, along with detailed reports from the judges. We hope the writing prize continues to generate interest in our little, indie press and our books that aim to normalise breastfeeding and mindful parenting. It is also hoped that it will stimulate creativity and produce some great writing! If you’re interested in submitting work, please do read all the below. Thanks for stopping by and good luck.


For the Winner of the Poetry Competition:

£125 cash AND publication of their poem on the Mother’s Milk Books blog.

(Two runners-up will each receive £25.)

For the Winner of the Fiction Competition:

£125 cash AND publication of their story on the Mother’s Milk Books blog.

(Two runners-up will each receive £25.)


For the Winner of the Non-fiction Competition:

£125 cash AND publication of their piece on the Mother’s Milk Books blog.

(Two runners-up will each receive £25.)

For the Winner of the Children’s Poetry Competition:

£20 book token AND publication of their poem on the Mother’s Milk Books blog. 

We also hope to give out a number of commendations.



Alison Lock  (Adjudicator of the Poetry and Children’s Poetry Categories)

Alison Lock is a poet and author living in West Yorkshire. She finds inspiration in the moorlands and the natural environment of the South Pennines, often reflected in her writing, but she is also influenced by her childhood home of the West Country. Her most recent publication is Revealing the Odour of Earth (2017) published by Calder Valley Poetry. Her previous collections are A Slither of Air (2011), and Beyond Wings (2015) both Indigo Dreams Publishing. She is also the author of a short story collection, Above the Parapet (2013); and the fantasy novella, Maysun and the Wingfish (Mothers Milk Books 2016). She has an MA in Literature Studies from York St John University.


 More about Alison can be found here: http://www.alisonlock.com/



Ana Salote (Adjudicator of the Fiction Category)

I love all things wild. I forage and grow anything that will survive the wild haven that is my allotment. Wild air is underrated as nourishment. I’m agitated in the absence of books and drained by the presence of TV. I’m a hoarder and I dress out of charity shops. I run a meditation group.

I left school at 16. I have worked as a waitress, a hospital technician and a tutor. While my children were small I did an arts degree with the OU. A family business pays the bills - just. I gave up on surplus some years ago to do what I love, roam the Mendips and write.

My father was a Tongan heavyweight boxer. He sparred with Rocky Marciano, mixed with the Krays, trained a ladies’ football team, got shot in the stomach and had countless children. My mother was an innocent. (There’s a book in there.)

Oy Yew (Mother’s Milk Books 2015) is the first book in the Waifs of Duldred Trilogy, a crossover fantasy series for ages 9 to 90. #2 Nondula, is out now. #3 Nigma is due for release in 2018.

More about Ana can be found here: http://anasalote.blogspot.co.uk/


Teika Bellamy (Adjudicator of the Non-fiction Category)

Dr Teika Bellamy is a UK-based mother-of-two, ex-scientist, writer and artist. She is the founder and managing director of the indie press, Mother’s Milk Books. Under her pen-name, Marija Smits, she writes poetry and fiction; her work has appeared in Mslexia, Brittle Star, Strix, Literary Mama and LossLit. She is constantly delighted by the fact that Teika means ‘fairy tale’ in Latvian. She can be found at: https://marijasmits.wordpress.com and @MarijaSmits and, of course, as @MothersMilkBks.


Photo credit: Izzy Brittle and the Leeds Big Bookend Festival



THEME: There is no set theme, however, poetry and prose must be in keeping with the remit of Mother’s Milk Books i.e. mindful parenting, empowering of mothers, fathers and children, breastfeeding, gentle discipline, family/sibling relationships etc. To best find out what we consider to be in our ‘remit’ of suitable work, check out some of our titles: Musings on Mothering edited by Teika Bellamy, Letting Go by Angela Topping, Baby X by Rebecca Ann Smith, and some of our past writing prize anthologies. We can only accept entries written in English.

COPYRIGHT: Poetry and prose submitted MUST be new and original work by the author. We cannot accept previously published poems, articles or blog posts. Although topics mentioned in earlier works can be written about again, any poetry and/or prose submitted to the competition must be completely original. Copyright remains with the author.

ENTRY FEE: Any purchase made through THE MOTHER’S MILK ONLINE STORE, (or made directly through Teika Bellamy) as of 1st NOVEMBER 2017, with an accompanying invoice number to the value of £5 or more will count as ONE valid entry. So, if you buy one book to the value of, say, £8.99 using Paypal through the online store that’s also one entry fee paid for. The idea behind this is simple: Mother’s Milk Books can’t survive and continue to support writers and artists (as well as charities like La Leche League GB, to which almost £1000 in royalties has so far been fundraised) without making sales. So your entry fee gets you a ‘something’ that, hopefully, you will find inspiring, beautiful and useful (hopefully, all three!). There is also no time limit to your invoice ‘fee’ expiring, as long as the work is submitted before the competition deadline. For example, a purchase made in November 2017 can be used for a submission entered in December 2017 or January 2018 (as long as the valid invoice number is included in the submission). Entrants can enter as many poems or prose pieces as they like, as long as they have a valid, separate invoice number for each entry. Entries can be submitted either online or by post.


Fiction: 1200 words maximum. We will be on the look out for excellent stories (of course!) which are well-structured, coherent and grammatically correct, as well as being either thought-provoking, inspiring, illuminating, enchanting and/or moving. Perhaps all of these.

Non-fiction: 1200 words maximum. This can be either creative (narrative) non-fiction or an essay. As with the fiction, we will be on the look out for superb writing that is original and thought-provoking.

Poetry: (Adult & children’s categories) 40 lines maximum. Poems in any style – formal or free verse – are welcomed.

CHILDREN’S POETRY CATEGORY (for children aged under 16): The poetry must be original work by the child (previously unpublished) and completed without the help of an adult. There is no entry fee for the children’s poetry category (i.e. no purchase from Mother’s Milk Books is necessary to enter the competition). Entries can be submitted either online or by post.


1. Please submit your piece of writing as a Word document (.doc or .docx file) and then email it to the administrator with WRITING PRIZE 2017 in the title of the email. Please double-space prose writing and number the pages. Please put your name and the title of the piece on each page. In the first instance, it will be necessary to have this information for reasons of filing, but when the writing is passed on to the judges, all names will be removed so that the writing can be judged anonymously. For poetry, please send it in the format you want it to appear (poems can be double or single-spaced). For the children’s poetry category please write the age of the child by their name.

2. In your email, please include the details of your entry fee, i.e. the invoice number as provided to you by THE MOTHER’S MILK ONLINE STORE (it will begin with the numbers 00) or if you are making a direct purchase in person, the invoice number you will receive beginning with the letters NM. Please include an email address, a postal address and telephone number, so that the administrator can get back in contact with you if you are successful.

3. Email it to writingprize@mothersmilkbooks.com and you will then receive an email acknowledgement of your submission. If, instead of emailing, you would like to send a paper copy of your submission, please get in contact with us (via the contact form or the email address) and we can supply you with the necessary details.

Closing date for entries:

Midnight (GMT) 31st January 2018

The judges’ decision is final, and no correspondence regarding the judging can be entered into.

The winners will be announced late March 2018 to mid-April 2018 and the winning poems and prose pieces will be published on the Mother’s Milk Books blog along with the announcement of the winners.