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Announcing the Michael Langan LGBTQ Free Reads 2020


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partnering with novelist and writing tutor Michael Langan to offer five free 15,000 word TLC manuscript assessments to unpublished LGBTQ+ writers working on novels. This is the fourth year the scheme is running. We will be putting out a call for submissions from 1st June, with a submissions deadline of 29th June 2020. Three of these opening extract assessments will be funded through the TLC Free Reads scheme (supported by Arts Council England), with two donated by Michael himself. Michael has once again 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.

About Pride

You can find out more about events and activities taking place virtually, bringing communities together around the world during the time of Covid-19, at the Global Pride website here: 

About Free Reads

TLC’s Quality Writing for All Campaign provides bursaried assessments (called Free Reads) and mentoring to talented low-earning, and otherwise marginalised or under-represented, writers. The Free Reads scheme was established with a pilot in 2001, and is now funded by Arts Council England. It is run in partnership with 17 regional literature partners including the Arvon Foundation, Spread the Word, the National Centre for Writing, 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 debut novel, Shadow is a Colour as Light Is, was published by Lume Books in September 2019 and he is currently working on his second. 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 lives with his husband, an artist.

Michael says:

“Sadly, if understandably, all Pride marches and accompanying live events have been cancelled this year, which is why a scheme like ours is even more important. It’s a way of trying to retain a sense of community when so many of our community spaces are temporarily closed or inacessible. We’ve also been made aware of the particular difficultes LGBTQ+ people have faced during lockdown, with many community members feeling unsafe or unwelcome in their forced living situations. I think it’s more vital than ever that we offer opportunities to LGBTQ+ writers to tell the stories they want to tell, to articulate their own experiences, and to actively encourage and help them in the safe, supportive environment of the TLC Free Reads Scheme.” 

How to Apply

Applications for TLC’s 2019 LGBTQ+ Free Reads open at 9am on Monday 1st June, and will close at 12pm (midday) on Monday 29th June. Please email  with the subject header ‘Michael Langan LGBTQ+ 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. Owing to our funding stipulations, we are only able to accept work submitted by writers who are ordinarily resident in England for these Free Reads. Work submitted should be for adult or YA fiction or non-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 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. Please note as above that Michael reads widely, but his preferences are for historical fiction, and all kinds of literary fiction. 

Applications from low-income writers will be prioritised, e.g. those in receipt of Universal Credit or otherwise experiencing financial hardship (including those affected by loss of income due to the current coronavirus pandemic). Applications from BAME and disabled writers from the LGBTQ+ community are particularly encouraged. Please attach a scan of any relevant paperwork with your application where applicable. If you need assistance, please let us know; we are happy to have a confidential chat about your application.

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