TLC August Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

Welcome to the August edition of the TLC Newsletter, in which we announce the launch of our programme 'Being a Writer', which will kick off with a unique interactive forum in association with The Royal Society of Literature on 23rd October.

We’re reminding you this month about other fantastic upcoming events for writers, including a reminder about the revival of our series of TLC Masterclasses with cherished tutor Shelley Weiner. There are still places available and remember, you can either attend any one of them individually, or bundle all three together at a reduced rate (saving £72). We also have a fantastic offer from our friends at the Forward Prize for Poetry, inviting you to their annual ceremony, which looks to be a wonderful event. 

We're also thrilled to announce the five LGBTQ+ writers for 2019 who have been awarded free opening chapter manuscript assessments from experienced editor and TLC Reader Michael Langan, as part of TLC’s celebration of Pride 2019.

As always we're featuring a TLC client in our monthly
Showcase - this time it's published author Finn Dervan, and his book Serenity Song - and we've got a really brilliant TLC Blog by writer and friend Taj Fregene, discussing why it took him so long to tell people he was writing a book. It may well chime with some of our readers, and (perhaps) even embolden you. As usual, we round up with some opportunities and inspiration from around the web.

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, now.

As always, happy writing, and reading,


Being a Writer: An Interactive Forum

We're very excited to present the first event in our new programme. 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


Announcing the 2019 LGBTQ+ Free Read Writers

Following the huge success of the last two years of Michael Langan LGBTQ+ Free Reads, TLC is delighted to announce the writers selected for this year’s free manuscript assessments. Our congratulations to Tony Leonard, Katherine Lim, Joe Northam, Julia Puddicombe and Scott Young.

Running for its third 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. TLC book editor Michael Langan has worked as an editor, writer, and teacher for over twenty years. Michael is a passionate and active campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights, and has donated two free 15,000 word extract assessments to aspiring LBGTQ novelists, alongside three offered thanks to TLC’s Arts Council England Free Read bursary provision. 

Read about the 5 successful writers here.

TLC Fiction Masterclasses

Our popular TLC Masterclass series has returned and we're very excited to re-launch the series with trusted TLC assessor, novelist and writers’ mentor Shelley Weiner. Shelley has designed three individual one-day intensive workshops especially for us critically engaging with essential elements of fiction and working with Shelley’s patented model of teaching craft ‘from the inside out’.

We'll be running three different masterclasses, each with a unique theme, and you can either attend any one of them individually, or bundle all three together at a reduced rate. The first masterclass will run on October 26th 2019. Each day will run from 10am till 4pm at Free Word, in the heart of Clerkenwell. Teas and coffees are included in the price.

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

If you are booking all three Masterclasses, a series discount of 15% will be applied automatically. 

The Forward Prizes for Poetry Ceremony

This month we're very pleased to share news that the 28th annual Forward Prizes will be awarded on 20th October 2019 at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre. See the nation’s most coveted poetry prizes awarded live on stage and hear readings from the 15 poets shortlisted.

The best poetry being published in the British Isles today is recognised at the Forward Prizes Ceremony, hosted by jury chair writer and broadcaster Shahidha Bari and poet Andrew McMillan.

Book your tickets now here for a spectacular evening of poetry. 

TLC Blog: Taj Fregene

"I was scared that I would not be able to see it through, that I would become one of those people who talks a good game, but can’t back it up with action. What if I became one of the vast majority who never finish? What if I failed?"

This month's blog is a brilliant personal piece from writer Taj Fregene, who candidly shares with us the challenge he faced 'confessing' to others he was writing a book. He explores the potential for failure, and the risks of 'looking stupid', and offers advice for those who are secret novelists... Read about Taj's experience 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:

TLC Showcase: Finn Dervan

“I genuinely believe that if I hadn't used TLC's manuscript assessment service, the novel would still be haunting literary agent's inboxes - half-formed and incorporeal. Much of this is down to TLC reader and bestselling historical author, Imogen Roberton. When I heard that she was to assess my manuscript, I was heartened that I had been paired with somebody who wrote within the same genre as I; somebody whom I had the utmost respect for as a writer. Imogen’s feedback transformed the plot entirely and Serenity Song is a far better novel than it would have been had I not used TLC’s services.” 

Our August Showcase features a fantastic extract from former TLC client Finn Dervan's new book 'Serenity Song'. Inspired by the chance discovery of a family secret that had remained hidden for a generation, this is Finn's first novel, and it is currently available for purchase

You can read the full extract, and more about Finn's writing, 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...

* Tickets for the Creative Future Showcase Event the Southbank Centre are now available. Friday 25 October, 7pm
* An evening with renowned Icelandic poet Gerður Kristný, presented by Poet in the City
* Writing competition opportunity for female writers over 40, for books featuring lead characters over 40, from Gransnet
* Some wonderful creative writing tips from the late, great Toni Morrison, via LitHub.
* A reminder that 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
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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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