TLC Pen Factor 2018 Prizes Announced

April 03, 2018 | Other News

Since 2012, TLC has run the TLC Pen Factor Writing Competition to find talented writers and give them the opportunity to pitch their work live to industry guests and an audience of fellow writers at our annual Writers’ Day. This year’s competition will see a shortlist of five finalists given the opportunity to pitch their work to a panel of literary agents and publishers. We are very pleased to welcome as our 2018 live pitch judges literary agent Robert Caskie (Caskie Mushens), literary agent Niki Chang (Aitken Alexander), literary agent Zoë King (The Blair Partnership) and editor and publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove (Dialogue Books).

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Previous TLC Pen Factor winners and shortlisted writers have gone on to be shortlisted for the Costa Prize (Guinevere Glasfurd, TLC Pen Factor 2014, The Words In My Hand), longlisted for the OCM Bocas (Fawzia Kane, TLC Pen Factor 2012, Tantie Diablesse) and selected as WH Smith Fresh Pick (Piers Alexander, TLC Pen Factor 2013, The Bitter Trade).

We are delighted to announce this year’s prize package, worth over £1,500, thanks to the generosity of our TLC Pen Factor partners:

Spread the Word – 1 Year Membership to ‘London Writers’ Network’. Benefits include discounts on workshops, events and masterclasses and networking events. (worth £25)

Royal Society of Literature – 1 Year Membership to Royal Society of Literature. Benefits include free attendance to all RSL events, subscription to members magazine and an invitation to RSL’s Summer Party. (worth £50)

Urban Writers Retreat – One-day weekend retreat in London, in a bright studio space with fellow writers. No distractions, and time to focus. Lunch provided. (£45)

Head and Heart – 1.5 hour consultation to take you through the practicalities of book production, design and printing processes with publishing expert Lucy Llewellyn. (£112.50)

Create Think Do – 2x 2 hour sessions on marketing yourself as a writer, with co-founder Yen Ooi (Marketing Mentoring Package, £250)

Headline – Lunch with editor Mary-Anne Harrington to talk about your work (£250)

National Book Token (£50)

Writers & Artists Yearbook – A copy of the 2018 directory (£17)

TLC – Full Manuscript Assessment (£500 approx), attendance at an industry day with an agent and publisher (£100), and an online showcase of your writing (£200)

How to apply

The TLC Pen Factor Competition is open exclusively to TLC Writers’ Day ticket-holders and can only be entered after you have booked your ticket here.  Full details will also be sent by email to you.

To enter, please email  using the subject header ‘TLC Pen Factor 2018’ including:

–          Your event booking reference

–          Full name, email address, and telephone number

–          Brief biography

And the following as attachments:

–          Up to 2,000 words from the opening of your manuscript (fiction/narrative non-fiction)

–          One-page synopsis

–          Pitch letter addressed ‘Dear Publisher/Agent’

All entries must be submitted in full by no later than 12pm (midday) Monday June 4th.

Eligibility and Submission Guidelines

1) The work entered must be an original work of full-length fiction or narrative non-fiction, in English. All genres are permitted. No short stories, poetry, or early reader books, please.

2) The work cannot have been previously published by an advance-paying publisher (i.e a publisher who pays you an advance to publish your work)

3) You must be a TLC Writers’ Day ticket-holder and able to attend the Writers’ Day on June 23rd in order to enter your work to this competition

4) The judges’ decision re: longlist, shortlist and the overall winner is final

Introducing the TLC Pen Factor 2018 Judges 

Robert Caskie, Director at Caskie Mushens

Until recently Robert Caskie was a senior Agent and COO at Peters Fraser and Dunlop. He joined the agency in 2008 after two years at MacFarlane Chard Associates and six years at Capel & Land Ltd where he developed and expanded his list of bestselling and award winning writers of fiction, non-fiction and journalism. His  clients have included Sarah Winman, Ruby Wax, Celia Imrie, Rev Richard Coles, Julie Burchill, Simon Schama, Monty Don and Mariella Frostrup. In 2015, Robert founded and launched a digital publishing company, ipsobooks, within the PFD group, publishing 40 books in the first year. Before becoming a literary agent Robert worked in film PR in New York and was a founding partner in the 1990s of euphorium restaurant and bakery in Islington.

Niki Chang, literary agent, Aitken Alexander

Niki Chang joined Aitken Alexander Associates in 2015 and works closely with Clare Alexander and her authors, having previously worked in the film & TV department. Niki is building a client list of her own and is looking for fiction and non-fiction. She is interested in brilliant storytelling, great writing and diverse voices and places. Fiction she has recently enjoyed includes The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and anything by Junot Díaz. In terms of non-fiction, she is currently engrossed in Evicted by Matthew Desmond as well as several cookbooks. Niki also handles the agency’s audio.

Zoë King, Senior Agent and Partner, The Blair Partnership

Zoë heads up the agency team at Blair Partnership and represents a wide range of writers and creatives. She also works with Neil Blair, Founding Partner of The Blair Partnership and Chairman of Pottermore, on J.K. Rowling’s new commercial publishing activity. Before joining the company, Zoë worked at the Christopher Little and Darley Anderson agencies representing bestselling and debut writers, and developing new talent.

Sharmaine Lovegrove, Publisher at Dialogue Books

Sharmaine Lovegrove is the publisher at Dialogue Books, a new Little, Brown imprint that aims to showcase work by writers neglected by traditional British publishing. Sharmaine has previously run a bookshop in Berlin, been literary editor of ELLE Magazine and co-founded Dialogue Scouts, a consulting company that looks for books to be adapted for film and television.