TLC’s CEO Aki Schilz has been announced as one of 62 new Fellows and Honorary Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature. Fellowship is bestowed upon writers and authors, with Honorary Fellowship recognising a significant contribution to the advancement of literature. Schilz joins a cohort of 16 Honorary Fellows for 2023 that includes TLC partners Henderson Mullins at Writing East Midlands, Chris Gribble and Peggy Hughes at the National Centre for Writing, and Andrew Kidd at Arvon.
“It is an honour to be recognised for the work we do at TLC supporting writers and upholding (and where necessary challenging) ideas about literary culture and literary values. All that we do is focussed around our core belief that everyone’s story has value, and that professional writing and editing services can be transformative and should be accessible to all. Really, this Fellowship belongs to my entire staff team, and also to our community of writers, without whose faith in what TLC does and stands for I would not be able to be here, signing the RSL scroll with Lord Byron’s pen. Thank you to all of our clients, who make what we do possible, and here’s to good and ethical editing, and brave writing, now and into the future.”
Aki Schilz has been Director at TLC since 2017, succeeding the company’s founder Rebecca Swift following Swift’s early death. Before joining TLC in 2013, she worked as an acquisitions assistant for a non fiction publisher, and was a facilitator and arts administrator for a national arts charity supporting young people in the arts. She is the founder of the #BookJobTransparency campaign, and the co-facilitator for TLC’s Ethical Editing training framework for publishers. Aki is the current Vice Chair of the free expression charity English PEN.
In 2019, Aki co-developed the Being A Writer platform with the novelist Julia Forster, launching the first membership platform to focus on how writers can cultivate creativity and boost emotional resilience the following year, in 2020. The platform has since welcomed hundreds of writers who are interested in how to build happier, healthier creative communities, running events online and hosting two major digital festivals with a focus on wellbeing and writing, both programmed by Schilz. With the support of TLC’s Arts Council England funding and NPO status, for which Aki led two successful bids in 2018 and 2022, TLC also offers the only nationwide bursary scheme for low-income and otherwise marginalised writers, offering free access to TLC’s professional services to writers across all regions of England. In 2023, TLC welcomed five additional regional partners, taking the number of regional bursary partners to 22. The Free Reads scheme is supplemented by TLC’s Supporter scheme, devised by Schilz and launched in 2021, whereby commercial clients may opt to add 5-10% on top of their fee, in order to support a writer without the means to pay the full commercial fee, no questions asked.
Photo credit: Adrian Pope