Celebrating femininity and empathy through images and words

Writing Prize


Thanks for your interest in the annual MOTHER’S MILK BOOKS WRITING PRIZE. We are now into our fourth 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:

£200 cash AND publication of their poem on the Mother’s Milk Books blog.

(Two runners-up will each receive £50.)

For the Winner of the Prose Competition:

£200 cash AND publication of their poem on the Mother’s Milk Books blog.

(Two runners-up will each receive £50.)

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 be giving out commendations to other shortlisted entrants.


Becky Cherriman (Adjudicator of the Poetry and Children’s Poetry Categories)

Becky Cherriman is a commissioned writer, creative writing facilitator and prize-winning performer based in Leeds. Her work is informed by the belief that not only do writing and the spoken word help us to make sense of the world and our place in it but that they provide us with the tools to transform our lives. A culture junkie, she also enjoys country walks; running; cycling and wild water swimming, particularly under a full moon.

Becky’s writing has been published by Bloodaxe, MslexiaNew Walk, Envoi, Mother’s Milk; in Poets For Corbyn, on umbrellas and on the walls of a recording studio. A frequent collaborator, her work has been translated into opera, film, art and into Italian for the socialist magazine Internazionale. She was resident poet for Morley Literature Festival in 2013 and has had pieces commissioned by The Hepworth Wakefield, The Rotunda Museum, Humbermouth Literature Festival, Imove and Grassington Festival. 

Shortlisted in international competitions such as The Fish Short Story Prize and The Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, she has won awards in several poetry competitions including first prize for The Speakeasy Open, second prize in the Ilkley Literature Open Mic and runner up in the Yorkshire Open. 

For the last thirteen years, Becky’s main occupation has been facilitating workshops with various community groups and schools. She works regularly for a number of key organisations and charities including Ilkley Literature Festival and is well-respected locally for her work. A current project is Haunt, an Imove commission involving writer Steve Toase and people experiencing homelessness or vulnerable housing.

She is currently seeking an agent for her second, magical realist, novel.

Echolocation is published by Mother’s Milk Books and is her first pamphlet. Her first full collection, Empires of Clay was published in November 2016 with Cinnamon Press. 

The image of Becky is by Layla Legard.

More about Becky can be found here: www.beckycherriman.com


Rebecca Ann Smith (Adjudicator of the Prose Category)

I have been writing stories and poems my whole life, but working on it seriously for the last ten years. I write novels for adults, teenagers and children. My first novel, Baby X was published by Mother’s Milk Books in June 2016.

I’m interested in creativity, feminism and social justice; I blog about swimming, parenting, writing and random stuff I like…

I am a keen swimmer, though my technique leaves much to be desired.


More about Rebecca can be found here: www.rebeccaannsmith.co.uk




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, Look At All The Women by Cathy Bryant, 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 2016, 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 2016 can be used for a submission entered in December 2016 or January 2017 (as long as the valid invoice number is attached). 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.


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

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 me with WRITING PRIZE 2016 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 onto 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 I 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. Or, you can post paper copies of your submission to: Mother’s Milk Books, 30 Brockwood Crescent, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5HQ. (Please do not send the only copy of your work since I cannot be held responsible for the loss of an entrant’s work.) If you would like to receive acknowledgement of your submission, please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Closing date for entries:

Midnight (GMT) 31st January 2017

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

The winners will be announced late March 2017 to mid-April 2017 and the winning poems and prose piece will be published on the Mother’s Milk Books blog along with the announcement of the winners.