Our Story

Founded by editors Rebecca Swift (Virago Press) and Hannah Griffiths (Faber & Faber) in 1996, The Literary Consultancy was born out of recognition of the need for greater critical engagement with work on a structural level than readers at publishing houses were able to provide, by a reader whose expertise and affinities aligned closely with the text. How was a writer, who might be working in isolation, or relying on the view of supportive but inexperienced peers, to know what worked in their text, what might be amiss? Whether the work might stand out enough to catch the eye of a publisher, or if not, why not? The hand-matching process, of reader to writer, remains at the heart of TLC’s editorial services, which focus on objective editorial feedback, equipping writers with the tools to develop their ideas, and their skills.

“The Literary Consultancy was invaluable to me for my first novel. I would not dream of sending a completed novel to my publisher without having TLC look at it first.”

Prue Leith OBE, author of bestselling Leaving Patrick

We believe that direct, constructive feedback can be transformative, and our client testimonials speak to the range of benefits writers might find from this investment. Many go on to find publishing deals, but our clients also tell us that their TLC experience has inspired confidence, has helped them to find their writing voice, or to have any number of other ‘light bulb moments’ that lead to a better understanding of their position and skillset as writers. Critical feedback can be tough, and we are on hand to support any writer who comes through the service, but we firmly believe that in the long-term, a rigorous, though sympathetic read, that bears in mind the writer’s vision but is also clear about where the work needs development, is the most useful kind of feedback. If you feel you aren’t ready to engage with the assessment process just yet, then you may wish to look at our Resources page which is full of practical guidance for writers nearer the beginning of their writing journey.

If you feel you would like support from TLC, but aren’t sure where to start, we suggest using our Writers’ Wizard to help you start to think about which service might be of most benefit at this stage in your writing journey.

At TLC, all of our services – from assessment, to mentoring, to events – are tailored to suit the needs of those who take their writing seriously, and are built on the cornerstone of our founding ethos: that every writer deserves a good editor. We hope to hear from you soon.


Arts Council England (ACE) – National Portfolio Organisation

Free Word – Founding Resident

Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) – Corporate Subscriber

Alliance of Independent Authors – Partner Member

Bridport Prize – Industry Partner

Rebecca Swift Foundation – Editing Partner

National Forest – Supporter (read about our pledge to plant trees for writers here)

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