TLC August Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

Welcome to TLC's August Newsletter.

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who attended the online premiere of our special film
 to celebrate TLC's 25th Anniversary: 'Why I Write: Tales of Creativity and Resilience'. The feedback we had in the chat stream was incredibly positive, and in case you missed them, the films will be made freely available on the TLC website on 1st September. A reminder that 100% of the ‘Why I Write’ premiere ticket proceeds went towards establishing a TLC Associate Artist fund and so far we have raised £1,366 towards this fund. We have a fundraising target of £3,000 and will be sharing more information about how you can contribute soon. Please email if you are interested in hearing more or talking to us about sponsorship.

This month, we have lots of news and fresh programming to feature, including:

- The seven winners of our annual LGBTQ+ Michael Langan Free Reads. We showcase the writers who will receive a free opening extract assessment from Editor and Writer Michael Langan, and a one-to-one publishing chat with Hamza Jahanzeb, Senior Marketing Executive at Icon Books and part of the Pride in Publishing network.

- A brand new Being a Writer workshop called 'Sketching for Storytellers' with illustrator Charli Vince, which is free for Being a Writer members, with limited non-member tickets available for those of you looking to dip your toes into illustration!

- A reminder of the last few tickets available for our Writing Soup for the Soul series. There are also some spaces left for the Funding for Writers seminar on 1st September.

- A supremely helpful TLC Blog from Mslexia magazine's Maxine Davies, on How to Write Your First Page. Don't miss that for some valuable advice and a plug for the Mslexia Fiction Competition.

- Our TLC Showcase, which this month features TLC Premium mentee Merryl Futerman and her fast-paced commercial fiction, inspired by her work as a celebrity PA and the #MeToo movement.

As always, happy writing, reading, and editing. 


Introducing the 2021 Michael Langan LGBTQ+ Free Read Winners

We are excited to announce the fifth cohort of writers selected from submissions open to LGBTQ+ writers, run during Pride month each year. The LGBTQ+ Free Reads scheme is part of TLC’s Quality Writing for All Campaign which advocates for better representation and accessibility in the worlds of literature and publishing.

Once again, the quality of submissions was incredibly high, and choosing a final list was tougher than ever. This year, we have been able to sponsor seven writers, with an additional place for a low income LGBTQI+ writer sponsored by Damian Barr’s Literary Salon, and one that is specifically ringfenced for a trans writer thanks to a donation from Joe Sedgwick in acknowledgment of the increased pressures on and threats to trans writers in recent years. Three of these opening extract assessments will be funded through the TLC Free Reads scheme (supported by Arts Council England), with two donated by Michael himself.

Our sincere congratulations to:

Zad El Bacha, Scott Aaron Tait, Shereen Akhtar, Kate Taylor, David Edgardo Martinez, Chloe Fowler and Jennifer Cerys.

Read more about the successful writers here.

Being a Writer: Sketching for Storytellers

Sketching for Storytellers with Chali 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 (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 (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.

LAST PLACES Writing Soup for the Soul

A series of creative writing workshops looking at nurturing the literary soul. Celebratory, inclusive, accessible, and with creativity at their heart.

In this series of interactive, accessible online workshops, we will explore how to nourish our creativity in order to sustain a writing practice. We will focus on creating and sustaining the kind of writing practice that fits into our lives, is mindful of our individual needs, our energy levels, physical and mental health, and helps us to grow and develop as storytellers.

All workshops are ‘pay what you can’ with a suggested contribution of £5 which will go directly towards workshop tutor fees. The funding webinar is free to attend.

August 9th: Anti Productivity
, a workshop on writing as a practice of dailiness, in the context of a writing life that prioritises self-care and a culture of recuperation. With Alec Finlay SOLD OUT

August 11th: Self Love, a zine-making workshop to spark creativity and joy. With Lucy Goodwill SOLD OUT

August 18th: Reading Rituals, connecting with beloved texts (all languages welcome) to inspire connection and creativity. With Alex Wheatle SOLD OUT

August 25th: Rip up the Page, a workshop on activism, performance, and ‘the extra stuff’ that enriches our writing. With Penny Pepper LIMITED AVAILABILITY

September 1st: Funding for writers, a webinar including Q&A on financial support available for writers, including who it’s for and how to apply. Free to attend but booking is essential.


TLC Blog: How to Write Your First Page

"1. Start with action

The most successful first pages in the collection tend to start in medias res – right in the middle of the action. If your novel has a more leisurely beginning, try cutting the preamble and see what results.

2. Set the scene

Give readers a vivid sense of where and when your novel take place. This will anchor them so that they can concentrate on the action and dialogue. Just a few clear concrete details are all you need..."

To celebrate the launch of a brand new ebook from Mslexia magazine, we're excited this month the feature a blog all around the theme of the : writing a first page. Mslexia magazine has teamed up with top Readers from The Literary Consultancy and Gold Dust to bring you the definitive guide to writing a first page that will hook potential readers and agents alike. The blog, from Mslexia's Maxine Davies, gives you 6 top tips for crafting the perfect opening page, which we hope you'll find helpful, whether you're starting a new project, or editing that manuscript you've been working on for the last year.

Read Maxine'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: Merryl Futerman

“Babe, its freezing. Can you get my parka? Such a straightforward request means I can turn over, keep dozing. This state of bliss lasts about a minute until I remember Dani is in New York and I’m in Muswell Hill. Getting the parka to her is going to take more than a sprint up the Archway Road. My mind starts whirring, working it backwards: Start with getting hold of the bloody coat, a mental scan of my bijou office for supplies and which courier will get it there by tonight, latest. What is abundantly clear is that I can kiss the rest of this morning goodbye.”

This month we're very pleased to feature a Premium mentoring client and friend of TLC, Merryl Futerman as our Showcase writer. Merryl undertook the Premium version of our mentoring scheme with experienced editor Thalia Suzuma, receiving face-to-face sessions to develop her fantastic commercial fiction novel Don't Make a Scene, and bring it to completion. She's currently seeking representation for the novel, and we hope you'll enjoy reading an extract in this month's Showcase.

Read more about Merryl's work in the August 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...

* The Poetry Translation Centre is looking for young people aged 16-26, from diverse cultural backgrounds with an interest in multiple languages, to develop their practice as poets or spoken word performers. D/L 9th August 9th
* TLC Free Reads for low-income writers are currently open via our regional writing partners: Spread the Word (London), Literature Works (SW England), Exiled Writers Ink and Writing West Midlands.
* TLC Director Aki Schilz will be the keynote speaker at Hachette's upcoming Gender Balance and Pay Transparency Day.

* A nice summer reading list from the Guardian.
* 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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Finding Meaning Through Memoir
by Anna South

Writers' mentor Anna South demonstrates how to approach starting to write about your own life story in this creative non-fiction exercise.

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
"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)
I Come From
by Dzifa Benson

Use your personal history to create a unique poem in two hours with this inspiring workshop.

"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.



Writing Soup for the Soul: Rip up the Page

25th August 2021, 5pm-6:30pm (Online)

A workshop on activism, performance, and ‘the extra stuff’ that enriches our writing. With Penny Pepper



Writing Soup for the Soul: Funding for Writers

1st September 2021, 5pm-6:30pm (Online)

A webinar including Q&A on financial support available for writers, including who it’s for and how to apply.

Morning Meditation
by Roz Goddard

Join poet and Buddhist Roz Goddard in a mind-stilling morning meditation, followed by morning pages.

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