TLC November Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

Welcome to this November edition of the TLC newsletter. We hope you're staying safe and well.

We lead this month with an announcement of a brand new 'story in a day' Masterclass tutored by the always wonderful Shelley Weiner, complete with an exclusive newsletter subscriber discount. We have limited space for this online Masterclass, so do take advantage of the Early Bird discount while you still can. Also newly added to our online Events programme is a free webinar on How to Apply for Arts Council Funding, and we have a special save the date announcement...

As part of Free Word's new season, 'How to Be Kind', we're running a literary advice column called Tough Loving Care, and we're looking for questions from writers. If you have a burning question about your writing, editing, or the wider publishing industry, we'd love to hear it! Questions can be anonymous, and will be featured either in a blog series from TLC Director Aki Schilz, or a video from TLC Agony Aunt, Angela Clarke.

We're also delighted to share a success story from a good friend of TLC, with news of the publication of Akeem Balogun's new short story collection The Storm, which he launched in October via his own indie press, Okapi Books. We've been fortunate enough to see Akeem's development over the years as a client, and we're excited about this new step for him, as he enters the publishing fray.

As always we're featuring a TLC writer in our monthly Showcase - this time it's playwright and screenwriter Jason Young, and his story of the daughter of Olaudah Equiano, Joanna Bromley. We've also got a brilliant TLC Blog by recently published author and friend Kerri Andrews, discussing her journey to publication with her new book Wanderers: A History of Women Walking - it's an inspiring success, and well worth a read. As usual, we round up with some opportunities and inspiration from around the web, and a teaser for our next podcast for those of you who are members of our Being a Writer programme. 

As always, happy writing, and reading. 



As TLC newsletter subscribers, you are the first to hear the news that we have been busy programming the very first Online TLC Writers' Day. And it's coming your way March 13th 2021.

Online Writers' Day will include all of the usual inspiring talks, additional workshops, break-out rooms, entry to the TLC Pen Factor Writing Competition, plus a free bonus video library with keynotes from leading industry figures and readings from some of the most exciting debut writers in the UK. All video content will be close captioned, and interactive content will be live captioned, for maximum accessibility.  

Watch this space for our (amazing) programme lineup, and for ticket booking, coming very soon! 

10% Newsletter Discount! 
TLC Fiction Masterclass

Inside Stories Masterclass: The Method Approach to Writing Fiction
Saturday 16th January 2021 10am-4pm Online 

Our popular TLC Masterclass series has returned once again and we're very excited to be working with trusted TLC assessor, novelist and writers’ mentor
 Shelley Weiner. In this online writing masterclass, tutor Shelley Weiner harnesses three decades of teaching experience to help you Find, Shape, and Write a story in a single day. It’s a day that will turn ‘make believe’ into the making of fiction in a creative, enjoyable way. This masterclass is ideally suited to those who are already writing and need help boosting their creativity.

To access an exclusive 10% discount on either Full Price or Concession Tickets, use the code EARLYINSIDE20 at checkout.


How to Apply for Arts Council Funding 

We realise how challenging preparing a funding application can be; it’s not a language that all of us know instinctively, but it is one we can learn. We have therefore programmed this free workshop, designed as an introduction to writing a strong application. Arts consultant Sam Ruddock will talk through the basics of funding, preparing an application, and we will be going through some written exercises to help you tackle some of the practical aspects of the fund-writing process. There will be a Q&A at the end, featuring a special guest, Sarah Crown, Director of Literature at Arts Council England. 

This event will be live-captioned, using TLC funding from Arts Council England. 

Places are free but limited, and registration is essential. Please read all of the information before booking. Read more and register here.

#ToughLovingCare: Seeking Questions for Literary Agony Aunt!

Are you struggling to get through that dreaded 2020 writer’s block? Wondering how you find the right editor? Or are you just curious to gain an inside view on post-pandemic publishing trends?
As part of Free Word’s new season, ‘How to Be Kind’, we're here to answer your burning questions, dispensing both hard literary advice and caring career tips. Responses from the TLC team will be published online including priceless insights from Sunday Times bestselling author Angela Clarke, who will be sharing her wisdom via video. A blog series from TLC Director Aki Schilz will begin on 10th November, so get your questions in soon!

You can submit your question on anything writing, editing or publishing related by emailing in to or by using the hashtag #ToughLovingCare on Twitter.

TLC Free Reads Writer Releases Debut with New Indie Okapi Books

TLC Free Reads recipient and friend Akeem Balogun has released his debut short story collection, The Storm, on Okapi Books, a new indie press which he co-founded with Brett Hackett and Nathan Stacey.

Akeem is a long-time friend of TLC, having first been awarded an Arts Council-funded Free Read via Wasafiri in 2015. After receiving a manuscript assessment on his stories from TLC reader Ray Robinson, he then went on to have more reads with Ray, and  with a second reader, Jonathan McAloon, before compiling his short stories into a collection. You can read more about Okapi Books and Akeem's journey here.

TLC Blog: Writing 'Wanderers'

"The first several pages of the first notebook for this project are covered in questions, many of them indicative of my own profound ignorance of why, or how, women walked in the past. It’s not a surprise I knew nothing of women’s walking – who was bothering to discuss it? But it’s only at item six on my first list of research needs that I note ‘Read women’s accounts of walking, if they exist’. It was only after a friend told me that this was what no one else had done, that writing Wanderers really began."

This month's blog is a really insightful journey through the drafting stages of a book, by TLC writer-client and newly pulished author Kerri Andrews. An expert in Romantic-era literature and women's writing, Kerri is also a keen hill-walker, and her new book Wanders: A History of Women Walking charts the histories of ten women walker-writers. Here, Kerri gives us a glimpse into her drafting process, how she used multiple drafts and notebooks to craft the book, and her eventual route to success! 

Read about Kerri's story in our November 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:

TLC Showcase: Jason Young

“Frankie Bailey was appointed by The Literary Consultancy to provide an assessment of my 133-page feature length script. The feedback was extremely helpful because it identified the strong points as well as areas that were more suitable for radio. Whilst I think it is important to see Joanna Bromley as a woman of colour in Jane Austen’s England, there were elements of the Olaudah Equiano story that were more suited to a radio play format.”

Our November Showcase features an extract from a feature film script by TLC friend Jason Young. His new script in progress, Joanna Bromley, focuses on the life of the daughter of Olaudah Equiano in 19th century England. Jason writes in a variety of different forms, from film scripts to radio plays, to bring Black British stories to a wider audience. We're thrilled be featuring his work here, and we hope you enjoy reading the extract.

You can read the full extract, and more about Jason's writing, in the November Showcase.

Writing Inspiration

A reminder this month about our Being a Writer programme. We're currently in the process of recording more podcasts with writers, editors, and publishing industry professionals - and we're excited to announce that our next podcast, which will be released at the end of November, will be with writer Nikesh Shukla, on How to Balance Work, Family and Writing. We're also hosting the next Online Write Club on Sunday November 29th. Register for your place to focus on your writing in a supportive environment, here on the Events page. If you're not already a member of Being a Writer, you can sign up here for just £10 a month.

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

* Our Free Read opportunity for BESEA writers (British East and British South East Asian) remains open until 13th November.
* Spread the Word's Life Writing Prize is now open for submissions.

* A reminder to look after your mental health, as we enter another lockdown, from Stylist.
* An interesting piece on, a new online bookstore to unite Indies.
* 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 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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 TLC Literary Adventures 2021 - Casa Ana, Spain
Spring Retreat
March 20th-26th 2021 Tutor: Paul McVeigh Only 2 Rooms Left!

Autumn Retreat

September 4th-10th 2021 Tutor: TBC

"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.
How Do We Write When We Write?
by Penny Pepper

Writer, poet, performer and activist Penny Pepper talks about her writing process, and what she likes to use when she sits down at the page, from fountain pens to dictaphones.

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
Bringing Your Characters to Life
by Emma Pass

Award-winning YA novelist Emma Pass takes you through some fun exercises to deepen your understanding of your characters.

"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
"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)
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.

Inside Stories: The Method Approach to Writing Fiction

January 16th 2021

Write a brand new story in a day in this online fiction writing Masterclass with Shelley Weiner. Challenge your creativity, find new inspiration, and let your ideas fly. 


How to Apply for Arts Council Funding

January 7th 2021

A free webinar for writers thinking about applying to Arts Council England for funding, to develop their creative practice and focus on new writing projects. Led by arts consultant Sam Ruddock.

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