The origins of The Forgotten and the Fantastical

Welcome to ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical’ Carnival This post was written especially for inclusion in ‘The Forgotten and the Fantastical’ carnival, hosted by Mother’s Milk Books, to celebrate the launch of their latest collection of fairy tales for an adult audience: The Forgotten and the Fantastical. Today our participants share their thoughts on the theme ‘Fairy tales’. Please read to the end of the post for a full list of carnival participants.


I haven’t written anything new for this blogging carnival, and yes, I’m aware that potentially it may look as though I’m taking a little creative holiday… but right now my creativity has been called elsewhere (I’m currently designing the cover for our next publication – a pamphlet of poetry duets by Sarah James and Angela Topping called Hearth) so I thought that in the absence of fresh words I would fall back on some ‘older’ ones. I read an extract from my Introduction to The Forgotten and the Fantastical at the launch of the book at Nottingham Writers Studio on World Storytelling day (20th March) and as it seemed to go down well then, I thought I’d do the same here.

I would like to add though, that I was really pleased with how the launch went. There was a lovely, friendly atmosphere, and the glow from the dimmed lamps and fairy lights made for a cosy environment. I’d put together a slideshow of some of the images from the book (each image was accompanied by a quote from the relevant story) and what with the wine, cake and fabulous readings from Becky Cherriman and Lisa Shipman (as well as gorgeous music from The Green Children on the DVD player) all in all it was a rather magical evening… Thank you to all those involved who made it possible. And not forgetting my wonderful children and husband (and mum) who supported me throughout those moments when I was a rather cranky and super-distracted person!

Becky Cherriman, me and Lisa Shipman

I hope that gives you a flavour of the launch and I hope you enjoy the rest of the carnival! Oh, and don’t forget that we’re open for submissions for the next in the series of The Forgotten and the Fantastical too…


I have always been fascinated by fairy tales, particularly when I learnt that my name, Teika, means ‘fairy tale’ or ‘legend’ in Latvian. I loved everything about the classical fairy tale books I knew as a child: the intriguing titles of the stories, the short, pacy narrative, the characters and the happy endings… I adored too the beautifully-drawn illustrations that accompanied the stories – the heroines and heroes were nearly always dressed in incredible finery. I had to wonder if clothes so beautiful could exist in real life. No doubt inspired by these books and my love of all things fantastical I set about making my own collection of fairy tale books.

            The first book I remember making consisted of a small wodge of thick, shiny pieces of paper that were stapled together and illustrated in felt-tipped pen with pictures of characters from Star Wars. (Young as I was, it was clear to me that Star Wars was basically a fairy tale set in space. It had a princess, for goodness sake!) On the reverse of the pages there were images of computers that controlled paper-making machines; my father worked for a company which manufactured these futuristic-looking machines, and the paper must have been advertising material. On each page I’d drawn a character accompanied by a few wobbly-looking words. I even threw in the odd joke. I must have been about five or six years old at the time.

            Fast forward thirty-three years… I still had this passion to produce a marvellously fantastical book. Thankfully, other writers shared my passion for the fantastical too, so my call for submissions for the first ever fairy tale collection to be published by Mother’s Milk Books was met with great enthusiasm!

            I was, as ever, humbled by the quality of the submissions. What I love about this collection of stories is the depth and range of writing on show. I feel that these diverse voices, each with their own unique style, complement each other beautifully, giving the reader an insight into the storyteller’s psyche. For it is in the nature of fairytales to connect with their audience on an emotional level. There are some powerful connections to be made here.

            What I love, too, about this collection is the fact that there are no passive princesses here. Strong women, real women, are a feature of the book and although there may not always be a happy ending for them, we can at least give witness to their trials and learn from their tribulations.

            I really enjoyed putting together this collection, so much so that my intention is to publish a series of these ‘modern fables and ancient tales’.

            We are all in need of a little magic these days, and I sincerely hope that this book will provide some escapism; a flight, if you will, into the world of… the forgotten and the fantastical.

Teika Bellamy, Spring 2015

Taken from The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2015

The empty storytelling chair at Nottingham Writers’ Studio


The Forgotten and the Fantastical is now available to buy from The Mother’s Milk Bookshop (as a paperback and PDF) and as a paperback from Amazon.

It can also be ordered via your local bookshop.

Any comments on the following fab posts would be much appreciated:

In ‘Imagination is quantum ergo fairies are real’, Ana, at Colouring Outside the Lines, explains why we should all believe in fairies and encourage our children to do the same.

‘Wings’ — Rebecca at Growing a Girl Against the Grain shares a poem about her daughter and explains the fairy tale-esque way in which her name was chosen.

In ‘Red Riding Hood Reimagined’ author Rebecca Ann Smith shares her poem ‘Grandma’.

Writer Clare Cooper explores the messages the hit movie Frozen offers to our daughters about women’s experiences of love and power in her Beautiful Beginnings blog post ‘Frozen: Princesses, power and exploring the sacred feminine.’

‘Changing Fairy Tales’ — Helen at Young Middle Age explains how having young children has given her a new caution about fairy tales.

In ‘The Art of Faerie’ Marija Smits waxes lyrical about fairy tale illustrations.

‘The Origins of The Forgotten and the Fantastical — Teika Bellamy shares her introduction from the latest collection of fairy tales for an adult audience published by Mother’s Milk Books.

Writing Prize update and other news

It seems to have been a very long time since I managed to write a post for this blog, but as most of you probably know I’ve been very, very busy! The busyness has been very positive though – some of it has been to do with the Writing Prize, and some of it has been to do with the new website (I hope it looks sufficiently stylish?!) and of course some of the busyness has been to do with the next book we’re publishing: The Forgotten and the Fantastical.

With regard to the 2014 Writing Prize I’m delighted to be able to say that after much deliberation, the two judges, Cathy Bryant and Milli Hill, have made their final choices. The winners will be announced next week, right here on this blog. If all goes to plan, Wednesday 4th March will be the day of the big reveal…

Although of course I can’t say much about the winning and commended pieces, I CAN say that we had an increased number of entries compared with last year – in particular, there was a huge amount more prose sent in. The quality of the writing was simply outstanding, with both judges being in turn humbled, moved and delighted by the poetry and prose on offer. They had to make some really tough decisions, and I certainly didn’t envy them their difficult task. The good news is that because we had an even greater number of entries this year the judges were able to select even more commended pieces. So I’m already looking forward to putting the book together and getting it published this September! In other news, our new book-to-be The Forgotten and the Fantastical is ready to be pre-ordered. If you’d like to get £2 off the RRP of £8.99, then why not pop along to the store and get it today? Pre-orders really, really help us. They give me a better idea of how many books to print, meaning there is less money trapped in unsold books. Mother’s Milk Books only just about keeps afloat through our sales (and of course the work of all us volunteers!) so if you want to support us, please do consider pre-ordering a book, making a donation, or buying a stack of greetings cards… We’re going to have a big old sale next week (2nd – 8th March) so it’ll be a great time to buy a ‘something’ in time for Mothering Sunday.

Lastly… if you’re about in Nottingham on World Storytelling Day (that’s the 20th March), please do consider coming along to the launch of The Forgotten and the Fantastical. There will be storytelling, drinks, and lots and lots of fairy cakes! The launch will take place at the Nottingham Writers’ Studio (of which I’m a member) and it’ll start at 7 p.m. It’s free to enter, and anyone interested in stories (or cake!) is very welcome to attend. And p.s. we’re also open to submissions for our follow-up to The Forgotten and the Fantastical. Details can be found here.