Publisher Spotlight: Mother’s Milk Books

21st Apr 2015

Mother's Milk Feature
Mother’s Milk Books was founded in 2011 by at-home mother, Dr Teika Bellamy, with the aim to publish high-quality books that normalise breastfeeding, celebrate femininity and empathy. Having focussed mainly on publishing poetry so far, the press is expanding its scope and will soon be publishing fiction for a variety of ages and tastes.

The annual Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize, which runs from September to mid-January, generates a lot of interest from writers, who have the chance to not only win a cash prize and JUNO magazine goodies, but to see their work published in the annual writing prize anthology. The press is currently accepting short story submissions for their next in the series of The Forgotten and the Fantastical. They are also open to general submissions.

So, without further ado, scroll down for five of their fantastic titles… and your chance to win!

Musings on Mothering

Musings on Mothering

The first title published by the press, charity anthology Musings on Mothering, sold more than 300 copies in the first fortnight after publication – quite an achievement for a book on an apparently ‘niche’ topic! The book, which has received much critical acclaim, has gone on to raise close to £1000 from royalties for the breastfeeding support charity La Leche League Great Britain.

With a foreword by the author of the bestselling What Mothers Do, Naomi Stadlen, Musings on Mothering includes a diverse range of poetry, prose and artwork by both well-known and emerging writers and artists. Professor Alice Roberts recommended it to “anyone at home with a new baby” and the editor of the parenting magazine JUNO, Saffia Farr wrote: “This is an amazing book. It is possible to become entirely lost in it.”

Letting Go

Letting Go Cover

In this single-author collection, well-loved poet Angela Topping explores what it means to ‘let go’ – of childhood, of virginity, of parents, of young children and of material possessions. Angela’s poetry is eminently quotable – her poems are often shared and published in anthologies – as they seem to somehow distil the very essence of what it means to be a mother. Our very own Hannah Goddard commented that: “Reading Letting Go is something like looking through a treasure trove of family history, discovering lost letters and photographs of never-known relatives and in so doing understanding something more of who you are.”

Letting Go

First you hold them like a secret
you only suspect is true.
Then soft knockings from within
tap out messages for you.
Slowly the body allows escape,
you hold them in your arms,
dazed and milky, full of love,
pledged to defend from harm.
Then you hold them to your heart
and put them to the breast.
But they learn to walk away
like any other guest.

Look At All The Women

Look at All the Women

Cathy, who shares in her author bio that she “writes whenever she can” albeit “around her disabilities and health problems”, is a multi-award winning poet who also edits the popular Best of Manchester Poets anthologies.

In Look At All The Women, her second collection, which is split into three sections: The Lovers, The Mothers, and The Eclectic Others, Cathy explores what it means to be a woman through the use of both formal and free verse. Sometimes outraged, sometimes amused, Cathy’s empathy shines throughout the collection. She also has a particular talent for paying gentle (and sometimes wry) homage to other poets, as in this poem, addressed to the poet William Carlos Williams.

Dear William

It’s not just the plums.
You are so plainly
a selfish man

living in the moment
the personal moment
all for yourself.

The divorce papers
are in the post.
This feels so sweet
and deliciously cold

The Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize Anthology 2013: PARENTING

MM Writing Prize Anthology 2013

This, the first collection of the winning and commended poetry and prose of the 2013 Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize, is a compact book full of stunning writing on the theme of parenting. The pieces, chosen by the judges Angela Topping and Susan Last, display a range of styles on this perennial theme, with Luschka van Onselen of The Mother Magazine writing that: “Any mother can pick up this book and read the same lines I have read and be touched…”, although fathers have clearly found it moving too, with father/writer Garreth Wilcock recently blogging that it moved him to tears.


The Forgotten and the Fantastical

The Forgotten & The Fantastical

In this collection of ‘modern’ fairy tales for adults there are reinterpretations of classic fairy tales – the huntsman in ‘Red Riding Hood’ is a lesbian veterinary surgeon, Cinderella’s prince is an American rich kid and Gepetto is an android called Darius. There are also original, ‘new’, tales included in the book and each one seems fresh and vibrant, although – as is the way of fairytales – they successfully pull off the trick of feeling reassuringly familiar. Short story writer and poet, Alison Lock has said it is: “Enchanting, fascinating, alchemical…” Well worth a read.


Competition Time!

To win one of the five fantastic titles featured in this Publisher Spotlight piece, simply email hello@forbookssake.net with the subject line ‘Publisher Spotlight’ plus your full name and address to go into the draw. Winners will be selected at random and the competition closes at midnight on Tuesday 5th May 2015. Good luck!