Introducing the Michael Langan LGBTQ Free Read Writers

August 02, 2017 | Other News

As part of TLC’s ‘Quality Writing for All Campaign‘ which advocates for better representation and accessibility in the worlds of literature and publishing, we are delighted to announce the writers selected for free critical manuscript assessments with TLC book editor Michael Langan. 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. You can read more about why we are doing this here, and find out about the Free Reads scheme here. If you are interested in making a similar donation or supporting the scheme, please email TLC Director Aki Schilz on  with the subject header ‘TLC Quality Writing for All’. Our congratulations to these talented writers and we look forward to working with them and their exciting book projects.

Madeleine Hartley

Madeleine Hartley grew up and lived in Burnley until going Oxford University to study English Language and Literature. She then moved to London for an MA at King’s College London, during which time she began planning Risk/Reward. She recently started working at Vintage Books. Risk/Reward follows Guy Collier, a young gay man in 1980s London, whose comfortable life is shattered as his relationships crumble in the wake of the AIDS crisis. When he returns to his home town hoping to start afresh his past inevitably catches up with him, albeit with some unexpected consequences. First and foremost is his precocious daughter Ali, who, it turns out, has her own identity issues to grapple with. It is a novel about the ties that bind us – to a community, a partner, a family, a place – and what it really means to belong.

“I applied for an LGBT Free Read primarily because my writing has always included LGBT themes and characters, so I felt that the feedback would particularly useful for improving my work. I’m also intensely private about my writing, and having never shared my work with anyone it’s been difficult to tell if it’s any good, so submitting for a Free Read felt like a good way to test the waters. The prospect of getting a detailed assessment of work that I’ve now been reading and re-reading for over a year is incredibly exciting.”

Henry Fry

Henry Fry has written since he could hold a wax crayon, though now prefers to use the Notes app on his phone instead. He has worked as an editor, journalist, copywriter and was briefly manager of a crystal shop (ask him about chakras; he knows everything). In September 2016 he was shortlisted for the Penguin Random House WriteNow scheme for writers from marginalised backgrounds. He is currently seeking representation for his first novel.

HackLand is a novel somewhere between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Black Mirror. I wanted to write a contemporary YA novel exploring what it means to be a gay teen in the digital age; privacy, intimacy, shame, secrecy – all explored and distorted at the greatest theme park in the world: HackLand! The TLC Michael Langan Free Read scheme is a fantastic opportunity for me to receive the editorial assistance I need to really connect my work with my teen readers. Awards like this are so valuable within marginalised communities (such as the LGBT+ community), because it enables the diversity of our voices to be fostered and heard. Hopefully this novel will go on to inspire other young LGBT+ people once I have finally managed to finish it!”

Prashant Kapoor

Prashant Kapoor is a writer based in London. He was selected for mentorship under Courttia Newland for the Newham Writer In Residence Programme for BAME writers in UK. He has also attended creative writing courses at the Arvon Foundation. Prashant has completed work on a film script called Sherry. He is also an actor, Bollywood dancer and teaches dance. He has acted in Andy Morahan’s film Boogie Man and has appeared as the lead in Tamasha’s theatrical production of “Strictly Dandia” which played at the Lyric and toured UK. Prashant received critical reviews for his performance by Charles Spencer and Sarah Hemming.

“I have completed my first novel. It is literary fiction, and concerns the world of acting and dance. Michael Langan is a very talented editor and I wanted to benefit from his input.”

Erik Olsen

Born to a Danish father and Spanish mother, Erik Olsen was raised in Denmark where he studied film and media at Copenhagen University. He moved to France for a six-month spell before ending up in London, where he has been based for five years. Erik speaks fluent Danish and English, intermediate French and Spanish, is an avid writer and reader, and is also an occasional short film director and actor. His fiction is almost always gay-themed as he feels there is a real lack of good, contemporary LGBT voices in literature.

Strange Boy is a project that means a lot to me. It is on the surface a suspenseful tale of stalking, but also a coming-of-age story about an oddball outsider trying to navigate the rules and conventions of both the gay and straight worlds. So far I’ve only had feedback from close friends, so I applied to this scheme in the hopes of getting a thorough, professional assessment, which I am extremely excited to have been awarded.”

Amelia Roberts

Details about Amelia coming soon!