TLC September Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

The leaves are beginning to turn, there's a crispness in the air, and children are heading back to school, which can only mean one thing - it's time for our September newsletter! It's a special 'Back to School' edition of the newsletter this month, as we have lots of great opportunities on offer to broaden your mind and provide some inspiration. 

Tickets are selling well for our next big event, Being a Writer: An Interactive Forum, so do make sure you secure your place soon, as we wouldn't want you to miss out on this unique event on 23rd October. A reminder of all the details on that are below, as well as some more detail on another upcoming October event - the first in our series of new
TLC Masterclasses with novelist and beloved tutor Shelley Weiner.

We're still on a high from the festivities of last night's launch of the inaugural TLC Free Reads Anthology.The anthology, which has been sponsored by AM Heath Literary Agents, celebrates the work of 20 writers who were awarded TLC Free Reads bursaries between 2015-18, and it was so lovely to see so many of them at Free Word last night.

We also bring you details of a fantastic mentoring opportunity from Exiled Writers Ink, an organisation that we've been proud to work with closely for several years; a personal and uplifting blog from writer Sara KS on setting up a writing collective in Ibiza; and a chilling ghost story in this month's TLC Showcase from a writer who was recently awarded a manuscript assessment via our international partnership with Singaporean literature development organisation SingLit Station. We finish as always with some useful links and things that caught our eye this month, from around the web.

As ever, happy writing, and reading,


Being a Writer: An Interactive Forum

Places are filling quickly for the first event in our new programme, and we urge you to pick up your ticket now before it's too late. Being a Writer: an Interactive Forum explores what it means to be a writer today, and what writers need to thrive. Drawing from key findings of the Royal Society of Literature’s 'A Room of My Own' survey, four inspiring writers present their experiences, from managing finances to finding and cultivating support networks, and making time and space to write. Guests are invited to interact and contribute using their mobile phones through a unique website login. Come away inspired, and be part of the conversation.


  • A room of one’s own (space and time to write)
    Yomi Ṣode, winner of the Jerwood Compton Fellowship 2019
  • A nest of one’s own (networks, community and emotional support)
    Carmen Marcus, novelist, founder of The Writers’ Plan
  • Show Me the Money (financial support)
    Hannah Berry FRSL, UK Comics Laureate 2019-21
  • Creative opportunity; professional development (mentoring, workshops and the creative writing industries)
    Nathalie Teitler Hon. FRSL, educator, activist, Director of The Complete Works. Honorary Fellow of the RSL

About ‘Being a Writer’

TLC, the UK’s longest-standing editorial assessment consultancy, is launching a new programme, 'Being A Writer’, spanning events, interdisciplinary learning, research collaboration, podcasts, and digital content to help writers understand how to sustain and protect their creativity and develop their craft in a range of settings. The programme, conceived by TLC and co-curated by novelist and writers’ mentor Julia Forster and TLC Director Aki Schilz, focuses on how best to support writers at each phase of their creative journey. This event marks the official launch of the programme.

Tickets cost £12 + VAT (Concessions £10 + VAT) and are available for purchase now


TLC Publishes Free Reads Anthology

Last night, we were delighted to be able to launch the first ever TLC Free Reads anthology, as we celebrated with writers, regional writing organisations, writing development bodies, and agents at London’s Free Word. The anthology has been sponsored by AM Heath as part of the agency’s centenary celebrations.

Twenty writers were selected from 118 submissions received by TLC for inclusion in the anthology, with chosen entries including a YA crime following the drowning of a man on a Yorkshire council estate, a literary reimagining of Boko Haram abductions set in a fictional African country, poetic reflections on climate change, and a middle grade adventure about magic and loss. It has been guest edited by acclaimed Grenadian novelist Jacob Ross and features cover artwork by Hong Dam, a Vietnamese visual artist.

You can read more about the night here and a list of the 20 selected writers, alongside a Highly Commended list, can be found here.

TLC Fiction Masterclasses

Finding Your Muse: Inspiration and Invention
Saturday 26th October 2019 10am-4pm

Are you a writer with a plan, an outline, or a notebook full of ideas? You may be a complete beginner, or a seasoned writer starting something new...

In the first of a series of upcoming TLC Masterclasses, trusted manuscript assessor, novelist and writers’ mentor Shelley Weiner will use critical writing exercises and inspiring prompts to demonstrate how imagination, psychological insight, and skill are vital components in the foundations of fiction. Come with your creative ideas and find out how to create a sound premise and a clear vision for your writing project. Crystallise nascent ideas, discover new ones, and road-test them in a safe, supportive, and playful environment.

Also available in this TLC Masterclass series:

Finding Your Story: Plot, Setting and Structure
Saturday 25th January 2020 10am-4pm

Finding Your Voice: Putting Your Story On The Page, Sustaining Momentum
Saturday 26th April 2019 10am-4pm

If you are booking all three Masterclasses, a series discount of 15% will be applied automatically, saving you £72 (full price) or £54 (concessionary rate).

TLC Blog: Writing About Not Writing

"At the age of 48, I decided to take up writing. I had not spent my youth, twenties or even thirties keeping a diary or scribbling stories and poems, but one year I spent an entire holiday putting pen to paper. My husband said it was one of the nicest trips we have ever had, because it was so ‘peaceful’."

Our September blog details another inspiring writing journey from a former TLC client, Sara KS, who honestly shares her struggle with writer's block and the revelation that led her to set up her own writing collective on the beautiful island of Ibiza, called 'Ibiza Quills'.

Read more about Sara's journey in this month's TLC Blog.  

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:

Exiled Writers Ink National Mentoring & Translation Scheme 

Our good friends at Exiled Writers Ink are running both a National Mentoring Scheme and a Translation Scheme to match writers in exile with well known writers and translators in the UK. For the mentoring scheme writers will work with a mentor intensively for 8 monthly sessions, with the translation scheme lasting a year. To enter the mentoring scheme, you do not have to have been previously published or have a perfect level of English but you do need to be writing at a high level and be ready to accept guidance and constructive criticism from your mentor. If you are a writer in exile, or know someone who is, and are interested in submitting work for either the mentoring scheme or the translation scheme, please send 10 poems or 2 short stories or a chapter of a novel or memoir and a CV to: 

Please note that writers can only apply for either the National Mentoring scheme or the Translation scheme.

More information can be found here.

TLC Showcase: Audrey Chin

“Girl ran down the stairs, out the front door and into the night. She ran between the pastel fronted houses whose flower plastered walls hid who knew what monsters, towards the wailing music and clinking glasses and hushed laughter at the bottom of the hill. She ran until she was stopped by a sudden silence.”

This month we're thrilled to feature Audrey Chin, who was one of 23 writers recently selected for SingLit Station's Manuscript Assessment Scheme (MASS), a programme to provide Singaporean writers with TLC's commercial editing services at a highly subsidised rate. After a glowing report from Dr Stephen Carver on her chilling ghost story 'The Ash House', Audrey is our Showcase writer for September.

The second round of submissions for the Manuscript Assessment Scheme (MASS), an initiative by the National Arts Council of Singapore, and managed by SingLit Station is currently open until 14th September. So if you're based in Singapore - follow this link for more information.

You can read the full extract of Audrey's terrific ghost story, and more about her writing, in the September Showcase.

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...

* Huge congratulations to TLC Reader Vicky Grut, who has been shortlisted for the prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize.
* The Mslexia Fiction Competitions are open for submissions for Poetry, Flash Fiction, Adult Fiction and Short Stories until Sep 30th.
* Andrew Wille has written a fantastic blog on how to deal with feedback as a writer.
* The booking deadline for the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) Conference 2019 is approaching on the 16th Sep - book now
* A brilliant opportunity to win a writer's retreat in Iceland.
* As always, our handy TLC Press Craft and Creativity Mini Guides are on sale and cover such craft elements as 'Dialogue', 'Plot' and 'Voice'. Pick them up for £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. 

"The manuscript assessment through TLC was the best investment I could have made, and was worth every penny. My reader gave such an insightful report. Her comments made me look at my own work in a different, more objective way, and I've been able to use a lot of that advice to improve other work since. I genuinely believe the help from her and TLC played a crucial part in being picked up by an agent, and subsequently landing a two-book deal. I couldn't recommend them highly enough."

Robert Scragg, What Falls Between the Cracks (Allison & Busby)
TLC Fiction Masterclasses, October 26th 2019 - April 26th 2020 (£125+VAT each or £315+VAT for all three)

x3 New Masterclasses with writer and mentor Shelley Weiner

Finding Your Muse: Inspiration and Invention
Saturday 26th October 2019 10am-4pm

Finding Your Story: Plot, Setting and Structure
Saturday 25th January 2020 10am-4pm

Finding Your Voice: Putting Your Story On The Page, Sustaining Momentum
Saturday 26th April 2019 10am-4pm

Book all three masterclasses for £315+VAT (£72 saving) standard rate

Book now
Do I need a manuscript assessment?

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Ask TLC: See our FAQs

Writers' Corner: Click here
"My TLC reader read my novel and her feedback was excellent. She helped me see what didn't quite work with the pacing and storyline, and she helped me see that I was writing a thriller; I'd been unsure of the genre up to that point. She was also very encouraging, which is exactly what I needed. After working on my manuscript, TLC put me in touch with Sapere Books, who are publishing Running in Circles. I'm so grateful to everyone at TLC; I feel like they offer something very special, and they have kickstarted my career."

Claire Gray, Running in Circles.
"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)
'Being a Writer - An Interactive Forum', £ 12 + VAT / £10 + VAT, 23rd October 2019

An interactive forum drawing exploring what it means to be a writer today, and what writers need to thrive. Four inspiring writers will present their experiences, from managing finances to finding and cultivating support networks, and making time and space to write.

Free Word,
60 Farringdon Road,

Book Now

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
"My TLC editor made me see my book in a new light. It took a bit of hard work, but I am so pleased I followed TLC's excellent advice. Thank you so much for helping me discover the book I didn't know was there!" 

Andy Rumbold, The Last Fiesta (Red Door Publishing)
"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
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