TLC September Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

A warm welcome to TLC's September Newsletter.

As always, we've got lots of lovely content in this month's newsletter - starting with
the exciting news that you can now watch all four specially commissioned 'Why I Write' short films for free on our website. The films feature some of the UK’s most exciting writers, telling their story of how they became writers. The premiere at which the films were launched, held in July, raised initial funds for the TLC Associate Artist scheme. You can now donate directly to the fund, which will be awarded to a writer writing with creativity and imagination about the future who does not currently have the means to access opportunities for professional development. We have set a £5,000 target.

If you or someone you know is interested in working for TLC in our small (but perfectly formed!) in-house team - we're currently hiring for a Marketing & Communications Officer! It's a fantastic opportunity for a strategy whizz with an eye for analytics and evaluation. It's a part-time, remote working role, and the deadline for applications is 20th September. You can read more about the role or enquire for more information by emailing us directly

We've also got a reminder for our upcoming lunchtime Being a Writer digital workshop, 'Sketching for Storytellers' with illustrator Charli Vince, which is free for Being a Writer members, with a limited number of £25 non-member tickets available. All writers welcome, no artistic experience necessary. It's a safe space for play and experimentation. 

It's been a tough 18 months for many of us in the industry, but our September TLC Blog is an uplifing look at the realities of running a literary festival in a pandemic, as Matthew Tett tells us about StoryTown Festival.

And we're delighted as always to feature a wonderful TLC Showcase. This month, it's a special success story. Maia Elsner (who has recently had a collection published with flipped eye press) shares her poetry, and also how TLC helped her with a Free Read. Maia's bursary was awarded via Wasafiri, whom we are proud to partner with along with 16 other organisations on our Arts Council-funded scheme.

As always, happy writing, reading, and editing. 


WATCH TLC's 'Why I Write' Films

Why I Write: Kit de Waal
We are very proud to present four specially commissioned short films featuring some of the UK’s most exciting writers, telling their story of how they became writers; and how you can too. ‘Why I Write: Tales of Creativity and Resilience’ was presented as a digital film premiere in July 2021. Also featured at the premiere was a crowdsourced film featuring writers from all over the world, telling us why they write, and an exclusive author Q&A. ‘Why I Write’ is a project in partnership with Story Machine, as part of a year-long programme celebrating TLC’s 25th Anniversary.

100% of the ‘Why I Write’ film premiere ticket proceeds were put towards establishing a TLC Associate Artist fund, to be awarded to a writer writing with creativity and imagination about the future. We are currently accepting donations in order to reach a £5,000 target. The callout for applications will prioritise those without creative writing qualifications (e.g., BAs or MAs) in order to widen the field of opportunity to find exciting new voices in storytelling.

Our thanks again to Ashley Hickson Lovence, Kit de Waal, Hanif Kureishi and Elle McNicoll for being featured in the films, and Story Machine for their production work.

Read more about the films and watch them here.

You can donate to the Associate Artist fund by clicking here.

Being a Writer: Sketching for Storytellers

Sketching for Storytellers with Charli Vince
Sometimes the tiniest visual cue, embellishment, or little doodle can add so much to our writing, both in terms of how well we communicate our stories and how enjoyable the experience is. “But I’m not an artist.” Nonsense! In this workshop, led by illustrator and lecturer Charli Vince, we’ll be exploring ways that the simplest of drawings can provide so much through a bunch of activities as well as insight from someone who draws … a lot. We can’t guarantee you’ll leave as a visual artist, but what you will leave with is a new visual toolset to enhance and encourage your story building process.
9th September 2021, 1pm-2:30pm BST (Online)

An additional reminder of our other Being a Writer workshop, which currently still has places available:

I Wrote You This with Philip Cowell

A creative writing workshop with a difference – it’s got nothing to do with you! We write for the joy of other people: little letters, poems, stories, love songs. Practise gift writing to get out of your own story for a bit. A lovely relaxing workshop with a bit of meditation and light movement thrown in. Bring three names of people you will write to, some writing equipment, and a spirit of generosity and creativity.
13th October 2021, 5pm-6:30pm BST (Online)

These workshops are FREE for members of the TLC Being A Writer platform with limited £25 non-member tickets. Details about how to become a member for access to events, workshops, courses, podcasts and more can be found here.

Marketing and Communications Officer (part-time)

Are you an experienced marketing and communications professional, working within an arts (ideally literary) environment? Do you have an active interest in publishing and related industries?

TLC is hiring a Marketing and Communications Officer to develop and deliver a marketing and communications strategy as it moves into a new funding period, working closely with the Director and Writing Services team.

Hours: 15 hours per week, flexible, commencing October 2021
Length of contract: 12 months subject to 3-month probation
Salary: £28,000-£32-000 per annum (pro-rated)
Location: Remote working, with hot desk access if required

A full job-description and person specification can be found here. Please ensure you have read the Job Application Pack before applying for this role. To apply, please send a one-page cover letter and CV to TLC’s Director Aki Schilz:  

The deadline for applications is 9am (BST) on Monday 20th September 2021.

TLC Blog: Moving with the Times

"The birth of StoryTown, a literature festival whose home is the Wiltshire town of Corsham, was in 2018. For a good while, the town council had wanted to host a festival which played to the many creative strengths of the town, from the home of the prestigious BathSpa University MA courses, at Corsham Court, to Pound Arts, amongst others. Its inception evolved from a collaboration between the town council and Paper Nations, a BathSpa creative writing incubator, and the first festival took place in mid-October 2018."

This month's blog is a realistic, but upbeat look at how a literary festival, specifically StoryTown in Corsham, Wiltshire, has coped with the last year or so of the pandemic. StoryTown's co-ordinator, Matthew Tett, gives his perspective on the ups and downs of planning a festival, and looks forward to the future of events in a brave new age.

Read Matthew's full blog here.

Do you have something on your mind, about books, literature and the value of literature, or publishing, that you'd like to blog about for us? We are actively seeking pitches to: We pay an honorarium of £50 per blog.

TLC Showcase: Maia Elsner


The wind slashes through petals, hard
caress; bud on the verge of surrender
to a crush of hands. Here in Paradise,
a man threatens another with a knife.
We are all damned says the street
but the lamp lights blink, ambivalent
to how we handle beauty when every
thing dies & I have no recording of
your voice. I can’t retain the shape
your sigh made mid-thought, lit eyes.
The river brings back mud as if a gift.
An old man sits, beneath the fern’s
damp blush, nursing a frown; laughter
ricochets like bullets through the town."

Our showcase this month is from a very talented, and recently published, poet and writer Maia Elsner. Maia was awarded a Free Read via our Arts Council-funded bursary scheme last year with Wasafiri, and received feedback on her hybrid text and graphic memoir. She recently got in touch with us to let us know the good news that she has had her first collection of poetry published with flipped eye press, called overrun by wild boars. We're pleased here to feature her poetry, and in the Showcase, she tells us about her memoir project and how the TLC Free Read scheme was helpful to her.

Read more about Maia's work in the September Showcase.

Find out more about the Free Reads scheme here.

Writing Inspiration

Are you on Twitter? If so, make sure you're following our page @TLCUK for all the latest news, tips and inspiration, including our #TLCTips series of writing tips.

Remember to also follow us on Instagram.

Other things from around the web to inspire you this month...

* A reminder that Mslexia's Novel/Short Story/Flash Fiction Prizes are all still open for submissions until 20th September.
* The Scottish Book Trust's Ignite Fellowship is open for submissions.
* Looking for some information on self-publishing? Writer's Digest has the 10 Best Publishing and Self-Publishing news sites.

* How to open your own bookshop: 5 tips from the founder of BookBar (via Stylist)

* TLC Press Craft and Creativity Mini Guides are on sale and cover such craft elements as 'Dialogue', 'Plot' and 'Voice'. Pick them up for just £1 each (or the full bundle for £8) here.
Thank you for reading this newsletter. For further information on TLC's core services including manuscript assessment, mentoring, and other editing services including copy-editing and proofreading, do visit our website. All general enquiries and manuscript submissions should be sent to Editorial Services Assistant Nelima Begum at

We also have Facebook and Twitter pages where we share information and insights, articles on writing, editing and the publishing industry, as well as tips and recommendations. 
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Dancing in the Library
by Shelley Harris

When we trick our brains into making new connections, we often produce our best work – writing that surprises us, that wakes us up, that takes us to unexpected places.

I feel the scheme has set me up for a writing life. In this sense, it really has been priceless.

Rachel Connor, Sisterwives (Crocus Books)

[Chapter and Verse's] combination of personal attention and truthful critical advice is ideal for anyone who is serious about their writing.

Joanna Briscoe, Sleep With Me (Bloomsbury)

In a nutshell, I now have a novel on its way to completion with the possibility of being read by someone. 

Jennifer Makumbi, Kintu (Oneworld)

It's been the best investment I have ever spent.

Liz Harris, author  

Find out more here
"Having my manuscript assessed by TLC was the best investment I've made in years." 

Kerry Young, Pao.

Published by Bloomsbury

Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Book Prize
Why not sign up for Being A Writer, our programme of online courses, podcasts and other resources designed with creativity and resilience in mind? You can sign up now by clicking the Being A Writer button.
"The team at TLC were very helpful. I got a detailed report back on the manuscript which encouraged me to look at it through the editor's eyes. I used it to edit and hone the story. The novel read so much better afterwards. My experience with TLC was wonderful and I'm so glad I chose them."

Faiqa Mansab, This House of Clay and Water
Three Poems
by Alex Vellis

Alex Vellis reads poems by Anthony Anaxagorou, John McCullough, and Joelle Taylor.

"Since the day I mailed my manuscript to TLC, they would not stop until I was accepted by a top literary agent. The result: my novel, The Black Coat, being published by Penguin Books in India in 2013 and Periscope in the UK in 2015. Thank you to my TLC reader Kavita Bhanot, for her insightful report, and to Rebecca Swift for her personal encouragement. TLC has been with me at every step since 2011.

Neamat Imam, The Black Coat (Penguin India/ Periscope UK)
Bright Energy
by Lisa Robbins

Licensed homeopath Lisa Robbins gives her top tips on staying healthy and in tune with your body's energy.

"My TLC Reader responded with professional warmth, enthusiasm and detailed, critical feedback. Her suggestions and responses (including writing exercises to get under the skin of less developed characters) were invaluable. It was a no-brainer to send TLC my second manuscript and once again I received detailed, critical and constructive feedback. The bottom line is that this service empowered the writer in me."

Mish Cromer, Alabama Chrome
Sketching for Storytellers (Being a Writer)

9th September 2021, 1pm-2:30pm (Online)

Developing your creativity through illustration with Charli Vince.


Quick-Fire Chakras
by Julia Forster

Spark your inner energy centres and further connect with the artistic impulse which has led to you becoming a writer with these seven meditations for the seven chakras.

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