Arts Council England Free Reads Scheme

Arts Council England Free Reads Scheme

“I found [my TLC reader’s] feedback incredibly useful and so insightful- it has made me feel excited to write again after seeing someone (especially a REAL WRITER) engage with my work so thoroughly.”

Free Reads recipient 2014

What is the Free Read Scheme and how does it work?

In 2001 TLC received its first sum of ongoing core funding from Arts Council England. This enabled the provision of bursaried manuscript assessments for writers from low-income households. The scheme is known as ‘The Free Read Scheme’ and offers access to TLC’s core services to writers who under normal circumstances might not be able to afford them. Free Reads are selected by a range of literature development bodies coming from as wide a spread across the UK as possible. There are currently thirteen organisations benefitting from the Free Reads Scheme. We work with partners who are proven to work well, but will also from time to time open the process up to include new partners and ensure the best possible national spread.

Each regional writing organisation arranges the selection of the submissions through writing competitions, open submissions or individual systems that work for their areas. The deadlines and submissions processes vary, so please contact your regional writing partner before sending them your manuscript submission. Please read all information here carefully before submitting an application, and please check eligibility criteria carefully.

Submission rules and guidelines
How do I apply?

Quality Writing For All Campaign 2015-2018

The Literary Consultancy is dePrintlighted to announce that we are among the 9% of National Portfolio Organisations to have been granted an uplift in funding from Arts Council England for the period 2015-2018, during which time we will be expanding our offer of free manuscript assessment, mentoring and events to talented, low-income writers, with a focus on reaching writers from a diverse range of backgrounds. For the Quality Writing For All campaign, we will be working toward promoting TLC’s role in supporting quality writing across the literary community through events, discussion, and widening the reach of our services.

We will be working with award-winning PR company FMcM, in particular focusing on supporting talented, low-income writers from BAME and disabled communities. This work will include improving access to professional services to these writers, and championing their work where appropriate, via showcases, events (for which we have a £2,500 access bursary to allow writers to travel to the Free Word Centre for TLC events), and talent management support from our in-house team for those whose work our readers identify as having real commercial potential. We will also be working with new diversity-focussed partners from 2015 as announced at our launch event on June 16th 2015 which featured performer, writer and disability arts activist Penny Pepper alongside Peepal Tree Press Associate Editor Jacob Ross, and novelist Liam Brown (Legend Press), whose work was critiqued by TLC through the Free Read scheme and whose TLC Writers’ Showcase can be found here, with a little information about his experience of the Free Read scheme.

We will continue to work closely with our twelve existing Free Read partner organisations, with whom we are proud to collaborate. We are also pleased to have confirmed new partnerships with five diversity-focussed partners for 2016. Information and a map showing where these organisations are in operation, with links to their websites to find out more about their work, can be found below. The Quality Writing for All campaign was featured in The Bookseller here.

As part of our commitment to the campaign, and to secure funding beyond the three years of Quality Writing for All, to continue to benefit writers who are most in need of these valuable bursaries, we are seeking strategic sponsors to match-fund some of our grant uplift. If you are interested in being involved in the scheme as a sponsor, or to discuss sponsorship options across TLC’s service, please get in touch with Aki Schilz at aki@literaryconsultancy.co.uk, or call the office on 020 7324 2563.

Free Read Success Stories

“TLC INTRODUCED MY WORK TO AGENTS AND PUBLISHERS ON MY BEHALF. I SUSPECT NO-ONE WOULD HAVE LOOKED AT IT OTHERWISE.” 
JENNY DOWNHAM, Best-selling author of BEFORE I DIE (filmed as Now is Good starring Dakota Fanning), David Fickling Books 

“THE TLC READ WAS A BRILLIANT OPPORTUNITY TO GET DETAILED AND USEFUL FEEDBACK. EVIE WYLD’S REPORT WAS COMPREHENSIVE AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING. TEN THINGS I’VE LEARNT ABOUT LOVE HAS NOW SOLD IN FIFTEEN TERRITORIES, AND WAS SELECTED AS BOOK OF THE WEEK ON OPRAH.COM AFTER IT WAS PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN PRESS IN THE US.”
SARAH BUTLER, TEN THINGS I’VE LEARNT ABOUT LOVE, Picador

“I RE-READ THE MS, AND, WITH THE HELP OF ANNA’S EXCELLENT ADVICE, RE-WROTE. WHEN MY AGENT SENT THE BOOK OFF AGAIN, WE SECURED A DEAL WITH SERPENT’S TAIL.” 
BETHAN ROBERTS, THE POOLS, Serpent’s Tail

“THE FEEDBACK FROM SARA MAITLAND (TLC) WAS INVALUABLE AND GAVE ME THE CONFIDENCE TO BEGIN CONSIDERING MYSELF AS A WRITER.” 
VALERIE MASON JOHN, THE BANANA KID, British Association for Adopting and Fostering

Please note:
  • That the scheme is designed for low-income and high-quality writers.
  • The Free Read may consist of either a partial or full manuscript assessment (including poetry, short stories and scripts) and is dependent on budget.
  • All submissions must meet the TLC submission guidelines and eligibility criteria.

ACE Regional Writing Partners

Click on your location on the map to be taken
to your regional writing partner’s website
or use the key below.

Commonword
New Writing Cumbria
Literature Works
Dorset County Council
New Writing North
New Writing South
Writers’ Centre Norwich
Spread the Word
Writing East Midlands
Writing West Midlands

All of UK– Arvon and TLC

Quality Writing For All Partners:

Creative Future Literary Award
(working with marginalised writers)
Exiled Writers Ink
(for UK-based exiles, refugees and asylum seekers)
Wasafiri Magazine
(working with BAME writers)
SABLE LitMag
(working with BAME writers)
Shape Arts
(working with writers with disabilities)
NAWE Young Writers’ Hub
(working with young writers)

Quality Writing For All Supporters: 

English PEN
Disability Arts Online
Bernardine Evaristo
Ellah Allfrey