Following the success of last year’s LGBTQ+ Free Reads, TLC is delighted to announce it is once more partnering with novelist and writing tutor Michael Langan to offer five free 15,000 word TLC assessments to unpublished LGBTQ writers working on novels. Three of these will be funded through the TLC Free Reads scheme, with two donated by Michael himself. Michael has generously offered to assess the applications himself. Please therefore note his reading preferences, below. Details of how to apply can be found at the bottom of this page.
We are particularly pleased to announce this new partnership in the week leading up to Pride in London and Pride celebrations across England and the world, and in the first year of our latest NPO funding period (2018-22). TLC’s Quality Writing for All Campaign, which ran through the last funding period 2015-18, provided bursaried assessment and mentoring to 295 talented, low-earning and otherwise marginalised or under-represented writers. The Free Reads scheme was established with a pilot fund in 2001, and is funded by Arts Council England. It is run in partnership with 17 regional literature partners including the Arvon Foundation, Spread the Word, Writers’ Centre Norwich, and New Writing North.
About Michael Langan
Michael Langan has worked as an editor, writer, and teacher for over twenty years, currently facilitating writing workshops and courses at various locations in Lisbon, where he lives. He was Programme Leader of Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich from 2002 – 2012, where he specialised in short story writing and the novel. He has a PhD from Liverpool John Moores University in contemporary creative writing and a background in performance poetry and public speaking. His short stories and poetry have been anthologised and published in magazines, journals and online. As Arts Editor of the online LGBT culture journal Polari he wrote about visual arts, film and literature and, in 2016, was a Contributing Editor to the Paris-based Seymour magazine, writing a series of essays about creative process. Michael has a particular interest in contemporary literary fiction as well as historical fiction. Michael’s debut novel, Shadow is a Colour, is due to be published in January 2019 by Belgravia Books. Michael lives with his husband, an artist, in Lisbon.
“It’s easy to despair at issues around diversity in writing and literature, just like it’s easy to despair at the state of global politics, and to think there’s nothing that you, as an individual, can do about it. But things are not hopeless, and neither are we helpless. Last year, when we at TLC first offered free reads to emerging LGBTQ writers, it was because I had asked myself the very simple question, What can I do, as an individual, to try to improve or change things?
I realised I could use what skills I might have – as a teacher, as a mentor, and as a reader and writer – to make a difference to people’s lives and to wider culture. Even if you don’t see the effects or the results for a long time it’s important to remember that it’s still possible to use a relatively small amount of your own resources, whether that’s time or money, to benefit others; what adds up, ultimately, to a few hours of my life could have a huge impact on someone else’s future and that’s a thing worth doing.
I also passionately believe that we need more variety within LGBTQ narratives. Queer stories are still very often seen as ‘representative’ of the community rather than about individuals articulating their own experiences and, in that way, sharing those with others. I hope to enable and encourage more variety, more intersectionality, more diversity, so that our stories become less ‘othered’ while at the same time still celebrating and unapologetically asserting their unique queerness. We still have a way to go.”
How to Apply
Applications for TLC’s 2018 LGBTQ Free Reads are open now, and will close at 12pm (midday) on Monday 25th June. Please email with the subject header ‘Michael Langan Free Read Application’, attaching as Word documents:
- A one-page synopsis
- The first 2,000 words of your manuscript
- A short covering letter (please mention financial eligibility if applicable)
Applications are welcome from any writers from the LGBTQ community. Due to our funding stipulations, we are only able to accept work submitted by writers who are currently resident in England for these Free Reads. Work submitted should be for adult or YA fiction – unfortunately we are not able to accept children’s fiction, middle grade fiction, poetry or short stories for this particular opportunity. Submitted extracts must be from the opening of the manuscript and only previously unpublished (i.e., not published by an advance paying commercial publisher) work is accepted. The full manuscript does not have to be complete at the time of submission but you must have 15,000 words ready should you be selected. Writers selected will be informed within two weeks of the deadline. Please do not submit work currently on submission to literary agents. Applications from low-income writers will be prioritised, e.g. those in receipt of benefits, disability allowance, job seeker’s allowance, tax credits, child support, income support. Applications from BAME and disabled writers from the LGBTQ+ community are particularly encouraged. Please attach a scan of any relevant paperwork with your application. If you need assistance, please let us know; we are happy to have a confidential chat about your application.