TLC February Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

Welcome to TLC's February Newsletter. We hope you are all staying safe and enjoying the snowy weather! 

We have lots of events for writers coming up in the next few months, so read on for more information on all of those. We start with a reminder of our first ever Online Writers' Day. Tickets are selling fast for this day that will be sure to have something for everyone. Attendees will also have the opportunity to enter the prestigious TLC Pen Factor, and you now only have one more week to enter the competition, as the deadline for entries is 16th February. Enter now if you have a writing project on the go (works-in-progress are welcome!) to be in with a chance of winning the £2,000 prize pot and joining our list of illustrious alumni, many of whom have gone on to secure major publishing deals. 

This Saturday, we also have the pleasure of hosting a fantastic event for refugee and migrant writers, in support of Exiled Writers Ink. 'Access to the UK Literature World' offers advice and support for writers with refugee and migrant backgrounds, with a stellar lineup of editors and publishers. There's also another reminder about two brand new TLC events for writers. First, Writing Through Movement, an interactive online workshop using movement to inspire creativity. And in April, we host a mini-Masterclass series with writer and communications consultant Anna Caig, all about marketing for writers to help boost your visibility and future sales.

We've been working hard to ensure that our events are as accessible as possible, and you'll now find individualised Accessibility Notices on each Event page, so that you can see upfront whether events have bursaries available, and whether they include captions, comfort breaks, or require space, mobility or equipment.

Finally, we continue the TLC Pen Factor theme, with a wonderful blog from former winner, Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (whose debut is a lead title for Viking Books) on what winning the prize meant to her, and we also shine the spotlight on TLC mentee James Brophy in our monthly writer Showcase feature with his time-travel novel Gethsemane Revisited.

As always, happy writing, reading, and editing. 


Final Reminder! Online Writers' Day: TLC Pen Factor Deadline

A final reminder that the deadline for our popular TLC Pen Factor Writing Competition will be a week today, 9am (GMT), February 16th 2021, so the time is now to work on that extract, and get it in to us! To be eligible, you will need a ticket to our Online Writers’ Day, which will be held in March 2021, we will be running our to find future literary stars. Could it be you?... 

The prize bundle this year is worth £2,000 and we’re very grateful to our wonderful prize partners for their generous support. To be in with a chance of winning, you need a ticket to our Online Writers’ Day, which you can pick up here.

Tickets are available to book via the Free Word Box Office for just £50+VAT. They include access to the full day of workshops and sessions, and also include access to a bonus video library suite. You can access a full programme here.


This Saturday! Access to the UK Literature World 

An Event for Writers with Refugee and Migrant Backgrounds Presented by Exiled Writers Ink and supported by The Literary Consultancy

Are you a refugee or migrant writer? Would you like to learn more about how to access the UK literary world? Come and hear from magazine, poetry and prose publishers and editors, and ask your questions at this event, which rounds up Exiled Writing Ink’s Mentoring and Translation Project.

Exiled Writers Ink is a London-based organisation that focuses on providing a space for writers to be heard and to promote the creative literary expression of refugees, migrants and exiles, encouraging cross-cultural dialogue and advocating for human rights through literature and literary activism. You can find out more about EWI’s activities on the website here.

3-5pm, 13th February 2021
Tickets: £5/£3 for EWI Members


TLC Mini Masterclasses

In our mini-Masterclass series, writer and communications consultant Anna Caig has designed three two-hour workshops to help writers think about effective strategies for marketing their work, including how to articulate your key motivations and aims, how to create and deliver an effective marketing strategy, and how to pitch yourself and your work. This series of three mini Masterclasses is ideal for writers who are wanting to find out more about how to connect with potential readers, how to create engaged online communities, and how to boost sales of published work.

This mini-series is competitively priced at just £100+VAT for all three sessions. Being A Writer members receive 10% discount. Capacity is limited to 25 places for this series.

5th May 2021; 12th May 2021; 19th May 2021
£100+VAT for all three sessions (10% discount for Being a Writer members)


Writing Through Movement Workshop

Bring mind and body together in this interactive workshop, suitable for writers of any fitness level. Through gentle movement and writing activities you will explore how breath, posture, and a wide range of movement, from gesture to dance, can shape your writing in new and exciting directions. Simple physical exercises accessible to all will help you access the subconscious, explore new pathways to characterisation, and bring awareness to the physicality of writing itself. You will discover how to use your body to unlock your creativity and develop engaging characters. So go on, turn off your webcam and get moving with us as we test out new dimensions for your writing.

This workshop is offered to celebrate publication of Sally-Anne Lomas’s debut novel, Live Like Your Head’s on Fire, published by Gatehouse Press in February 2021.

5-7.30pm, 22nd April 2021
Tickets: £15/£25 inc. a copy of the book (10% discount for Being A Writer members)


TLC Showcase: James Brophy

“I had long been intrigued by the idea of travelling back in time to meet and question famous/infamous people, but without altering history in any way. This was the genesis of the novel, Gethsemane Revisited. It required the creation of rules that would enable these time-travel journeys to take place and yet ensure nothing would ever change. Part of the trade-off in the rules was that Jerome, the main protagonist, would be the only person who would recall these journeys and he could never prove to anyone else that they actually happened.”

This month we're very pleased to be featuring an alumnus of our Chapter & Verse Mentoring programme as our Showcase writer, James Brophy, with his brilliant novel Gethsemane Revisted. We've been lucky to work with James on his time-travel novel via our mentoring scheme, and he's now taken the initiative to self-publish the work. We're always excited for TLC writers when they put their work into the world via self-publishing, so do pick up a copy of the book if you can. You can visit his website for more.

You can read an extract from Gethsemane Revisted, and more about James' writing, in the February Showcase.

TLC Blog: What Winning TLC Pen Factor Meant to Me

"So, this is all mine? I thought, scanning my list of prizes. I had just won TLC’s Pen Factor Competition 2019. In addition to winning a full manuscript assessment and two 1:1s with experts in the publishing industry, I’d won a one-year membership to a number of valuable organisations, such as Spread the Word and Royal Society of Literature. And that wasn’t even half of the prize. Woah. This is way too much, I thought as I went down the list. But from what I now know from being a writer, you need all the help you can get."

If you're thinking about entering our Pen Factor Writing Competition, you need to read this month's TLC BLog, from former winner (and soon to be published author!) Lizzie Damilola Blackburn. Lizzie gives us her top three reasons why the Prize helped her on her journey to landing a two-book deal with Viking/Penguin.

Read Lizzie'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:

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...

* Rebecca Swift Foundation is hiring a new Freelance Project Manager to run the biennual Womens Poets' Prize.
* RSL are inviting applications for a new set of Awards in partnership with Sky Arts to celebrate and nurture British writers of colour
* 25 Essential Notes on Craft from Matthew Salesses, via LitHub
* Toast Poetry will be hosting free digital chats on 12th and 13th Feb

* 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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"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
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.
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)
Writing Through Movement

April 22nd 2021

Bring mind and body together in this interactive workshop, suitable for writers of any fitness level.


TLC Mini Marketing Masterclass

5th-19th May 2021

Think about effective strategies for markting your work with these three mini-masterclasses.

"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
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