TLC September Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

Welcome to TLC's September Newsletter. We hope that those of you with children have been able to send them safely back to school, and that the changing of the season brings some normality at the end of what has been an unusual summer!

This month's newsletter is full of good news and positivity, kicking off with the announcement of our 2020
LGBTQ+ Free Reads cohort. For the fourth year in a row, we're very excited to announce the names of the LGBTQ+ writers who have been awarded a free opening extract manuscript assessment from experienced editor and TLC Reader Michael Langan. The standard of submissions was so high this year, that Michael has selected six winners, instead of the usual five, as part of TLC’s celebration of Pride 2020.

There's also a reminder for those of you looking for some Spanish sun, that for the first time ever, TLC will be
running two Literary Adventure writing retreats in 2021, one in the Spring and one in the Autumn. Places for the Spring break are booking fast, so get in touch with us soon to reserve your spot.

We're also excited to announce that members of our online writing community Being a Writer will have exclusive access to a monthly Online Write Club, starting Sunday 27th September. Being a Writer members will be able to join us for a no-pressure club on the last Sunday of every month, to
write alongside other members of the community. There are more details on that, and how to sign up for Being a Writer (if you're not already a member), below.

We have a must-read TLC Blog for Indie authors, from writer and friend Keith Crawford, as he explores how building a strong team of professional help can lead to a satisfying publication experience. And we're absolutely delighted to feature the incredibly talented Paul Crooks this month as our Showcase feature. Paul's important biographical novel, The George Cross traces the stories of two men, one displaced with the Windrush Generation, the other trying to understand his place in the contemporary world. Read an extract of this gripping novel below.

Finally, as ever, we round off the newsletter with some of the best opportunities and reads from the web, and a quick reminder that if you're looking to brush up on your writing toolkit, our Craft and Creativity Mini-Guides are available at just £1 each. Pick up one of them, or the full set,

As always, happy writing, and reading. 


Announcing the 2020 LGBTQ+ Free Read Writers

We are delighted to announce the fourth 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. This year, the level of submissions was so high that Michael has selected six winners, instead of the usual five, generously donating three of the opening extract manuscript assessments the scheme provides, with the remaining three covered by TLC’s Arts Council England funding.

Our sincere congratulations to: Leonie Abrahamson, Colin Crummy, Sophia Danes-Gharbaoui, Oakley Flanagan, Andrew Kaye and Elspeth Wilson.

Read more about the six successful writers here.

TLC Literary Adventure 2021 Open for Spring & Autumn Booking

A reminder that for the first time ever, we will be running not one, but two Literary Adventure writing retreats in 2021, one in Spring, and one in Autumn. Booking is open for our Spring-time writing retreat, taking place March 20th-26th 2021, and there are only four spaces remaining, so get in touch soon to book your spot.

We will also be running our usual Autumn retreat, running September 4th-10th 2021, and we'd urge you to reserve in advance so as not to miss out.

Our tutor for the Spring retreat is the award-winning novelist Paul McVeigh. Paul will be joining us at the beautiful Casa Ana, nestled in the Alpujarras where he will lead a range of morning workshops on elements of writing craft. Groups are limited to a maximum of 12 writers, to allow writers the creative space and freedom to help develop their projects in a focussed and supportive environment. The retreat is open to all writers of fiction and memoir with works in progress.

Read more about the Literary Adventure here.

Spaces for both Literary Adventures are limited, so please contact to secure your place.

Exclusive Being a Writer Online Write Club

Open exclusively to Being a Writer members

Join us for a no-pressure write club. Every last Sunday of the month, you are welcome to log in and write alongside other members of the Being A Writer community. We will have a short check-in at the beginning and end, but mainly this is a space for you to take a little bit of time to prioritise your writing. We look forward to seeing you, and writing together.

Sunday 27th September 2020, 10:00am-12:30pm

Find out more information and click here to sign up.

If you are thinking of becoming a Being a Writer member and would like to attend a free ‘taster’ write club, simply email us at to receive secure booking details. One per person, Community Guidelines apply.

TLC Showcase: Paul Crooks

“I reach the St Johns Anglican church and as usual, all I can think about is death, especially when I catch sight of the stone wall and railings. I see the lovely coloured bible pictures in glass windows overlooking graves. I pray that when I am old, that God will come for me in my sleep. I don’t want to feel any pain, like the drunkard must have when he split his head. I hope they lay me to rest under the gaze of the Virgin Mary, like the great and the not so great do. They lie beneath the earth, under tombstones where soon to be curried goat graze, pee and do number twos. Mother says the great and the not so great made Jamaica the land we love. Clifford says tombstones silently recall who these people were, and where and when they lived. ‘Silently recall’. I like when Clifford talks like that.”

Our September Showcase features an extract from TLC friend Paul Crooks' powerful biographical novel The George Cross. The novel is inspired by Paul's family history, and tells the story of two men, one displaced with the Windrush Generation, the other trying to understand his place in the contemporary world. Paul has done a huge amount of research into his family's history to write the book, tracing back six generations to ancestors captured on the West African coast and enslaved on a sugar plantation in Jamaica. You don't want to miss reading his extract this month. 

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

TLC Blog: Keith Crawford

"In 2018 I achieved my lifelong dream. After several (i.e. many) casual efforts I had sat down, taken it seriously, and written a novel. My science-fantasy epic Vile had not one but three offers from publishing houses. So why did it feel wrong? Why did I make the decision to turn down all three and go Indie? And why was The Literary Consultancy a big part of my decision?"

Our Blog this month comes from writer, friend, and repeat visitor to TLC, Keith Crawford. Keith found success with his writing by building a team of trusted professionals to help him self-publish his book Vile, and in this month's TLC Blog, he tells the story of his journey to publication. It's a really honest take on the Indie process, and he offers up some incredibly helpful tips and advice for writer who might be considering self-publishing.

Read the full blog and more about Keith's work 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...

* The Poetry Translation Centre is seeking BAME candidates for a year-long paid internship.
* Comma Press are hosting a National Creative Writing Industry Conference, an online writers conference, 26-30th October

* English PEN are hosting four free online events with Edmund de Waal and The British Museum called #libraryofexile.
* Hachette Thrive have launched #GrowYourStory: a free fiction development programme for emerging BAME writers.

* 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 4 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.
Literary Crossword
by Richard Smyth

Keep your brain busy with this books-themed crossword from the author of 'An Indifference of Birds'

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
10 Minute Yoga
by Rakhee Jasani

Yoga instructor Rakhee has designed this short yoga sequence just for us, to help you feeling energised, and to re-balance the body when working from home. Please use the password 'Yoga with TLC'

"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)
Ten Things I've Learnt About Love
by Sarah Butler

Former TLC client and now acclaimed novelist Sarah Butler takes us through the writing exercise that inspired her first book.

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