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The TLC Free Reads Scheme offers low-income writers the opportunity to get free
professional feedback on their writing via The Literary Consultancy, the UK’s leading editorial consultancy. TLC has helped hundreds of writers on to publication, but its main aim is to support writers developing their work and honing their writing craft through structured constructive feedback. Since 2001, TLC has been in receipt of funding from Arts Council England to extend its offer to those unable to pay the fees for its commercial services. The Free Reads Scheme is open to all writers resident in England through a range of partners. You can find a list of the partners operating in each region, as well as more fulsome information about the scheme, here.

The Free Reads scheme particularly welcomes applications from writers belonging to
groups currently under-represented in publishing including disabled writers,
neurodivergent writers, Black, Asian, and Global Majority writers, and members of the
LGBQT+ community.

Who is TLC?
Established in 1996 as the first service of its kind, The Literary Consultancy (TLC) offers
a range of services for writers including manuscript assessment, mentoring, and eventsTLC services are available to all writers, at all stages of development, writing in English.

What are ACE Free Reads?
TLC processes novels, short stories, non-fiction, poetry, scripts and screenplays, offering professional critical feedback. This service is open to all on a commercial basis, but Free Reads are on submission to TLC’s regional partners, and subject to eligibility criteria. Your work will be hand-matched to one of TLC’s 80+ professional readers, and writers can expect to receive feedback in the form of a written critique, sent within 4-6 weeks of the application being processed. The notes you receive are intended to help you develop your writing further. To read more about whether a manuscript assessment would be helpful, click here:

“The scheme allows hard-working but isolated writers access to truthful and expert assessments of their work, and guidance about where to take it next. It does what friends, other writing group members, your partner or the dog can’t do. What no one else can, in practice, do for most of us. It’s irreplaceable and invaluable. I’m grateful for the opportunity and the feedback and encouragement I received is priceless. I have gained so much confidence because of my feedback and I was taught so many valuable things which I will continue to apply in the future. To also be given this opportunity given my current financial situation is just an amazing. Thank you.”

New Writing South works with TLC by offering a small number of Arts Council-funded Free Reads for talented, low income authors in the south east. The south east region covers: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

If you would like to apply for a free read please firstly read the guidelines on the TLC website to check whether you are eligible. You can find the entry criteria here. Free reads are open to writers of fiction, poetry or plays.

Step 1: 
Please download and  complete the 2023 ACE-freereads-form.

Step 2:
Please email with the subject line Free Read Application – [your name]. Please include the following as individual attachments, in either word document (.doc, .docx) or pdf (.pdf) format: