TLC Pen Factor Writing Competition 2019 Prizes Announced

April 02, 2019 | 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. Once again, 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 2019 live pitch judges literary agents Nelle Andrew (PFD), Jo Unwin (JULA) Harry Illingworth (DHH) and Susan Yearwood (Susan Yearwood Literary Agency).

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).

2018 was another outstanding year for TLC Pen Factor successes, as finalist Abi Dare subsequently went on to win the 2018 Bath Novel Award, with her literary debut The Girl with the Louding Voice, which will be published by Sceptre/Hodder in 2020 after securing a significant advance.

2018 TLC Pen Factor winner, Neema Shah, who won with her novel Kololo Hill, will be published by Picador in 2021.

We are delighted to announce this year’s prize package, worth over £1,000, thanks to the generosity of our TLC Pen Factor partners:

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

Royal Society of Literature – 1 Year’s Membership to the 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)

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 mentoring sessions on marketing yourself as a writer, with co-founder Yen Ooi (£250)

Writing Magazine – 1 Year digital subscription to Writing Magazine (£38.99)

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. (value £45)

National Book Token (£50)

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

TLC – Full Manuscript Assessment (£600 approx), attendance at an industry day with an agent and publisher (worth £100), and an online showcase of your writing (worth £200)

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.

How to Apply

To enter, please email  using the subject header ‘TLC Pen Factor 2019’ 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 3rd.

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. Unfortunately we cannot accept short stories, poetry, or early reader books for this competition.

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 – self-published work is accepted)

3) You must be a TLC Writers’ Day ticket-holder and able to attend the Writers’ Day on June 22nd 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 2019 Judges

nelle andrew

Nelle Andrew, literary agent, PFD Literary Agency

Author-turned-literary agent Nelle Andrew (writing under the name Nelle Davy) joined Peter Fraser + Dunlop in 2009 and before then worked at Pan Macmillan. She was nominated for Literary Agent of the Year at The British Book Awards 2018, and was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016.
Her list spans acclaimed debut novels, Sunday Times bestsellers, and Richard and Judy Book Club Picks, in both non-fiction and fiction. She represents a variety of authors across many genres but what they all have in common is an original story and a strong narrative voice. She is a primary agent with her own list.

Harry Illingworth, literary agent, DHH Literary Agency

Harry Illingworth

Harry Illingworth is a literary agent at DHH Literary Agency, where he specialises in genre fiction and is actively building his list. He is also Marketing & Communications Manager at Goldsboro Books, an independent bookshop in Central London. Before that he gained experience in different departments of the publishing industry at Michael O’Mara Books, HarperCollins and Pan Macmillan.
More than anything, he wants to be entertained, but a strong writing style is essential. Some of his favourite authors include Joe Abercrombie, Pierce Brown, Anthony Ryan, Emily St. John Mandel, Scott Lynch and Ted Chiang.

Jo Unwin, literary agent, JULA

Jo Unwin set up her eponymous literary agency in 2013. Prior to becoming an agent, she had a career as an actress and television script writer (writing credits include Byker Grove and My Parents are Aliens). She worked her way up the publishing ladder by starting out as a book scout for Aardman animated features, moving on to become a bookseller, and finally becoming an agent at Conville and Walsh in 2008. She
was in a shortlist of three for the Bookseller Industry Awards Literary Agent of the Year in 2010, and was picked out as one of the Bookseller’s Rising Stars in 2011.

susan yearwood

Susan Yearwood, literary agent, Susan Yearwood Literary Agency

Susan began her career in publishing in the early ’90s and gained valuable experience at Virago (now part of Little, Brown Book Group) and Penguin Books Ltd (Penguin Random House).

SYA was founded in 2007, starting the successful careers of debut writers Kerry Young (shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award) and Prajwal Parajuly (shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize).