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TLC Free Reads Scheme

About the TLC Free Reads Scheme:

If you received a grant to attend an Arvon course in 2017, then you are able to apply for the chance to win a free editorial critique from The Literary Consultancy (TLC).

TLC is the UK’s leading manuscript assessment and editorial advice service, providing expert, market-aware editorial appraisal and help to writers at all levels. TLC receives funding from Arts Council England to support free manuscript assessments to a limited number of Arvon grant recipients. The assessment includes a detailed, critical assessment of their work at any stage, and feedback regarding their work’s market potential. These assessments are the same service the TLC offers to paying customers, but thanks to ACE funding we are able to offer them to Arvon grant recipients at no cost.

Applying for the TLC Free Reads Scheme:

Please note this is a limited opportunity, and successful applicants will be selected based on quality of their work – if you have won a Free Read you will be informed in the week commencing 11th December 2017.

Each of our grant recipients can apply for an assessment for one of the following:

Poetry: Up to 200 lines of poetry (please include a line count; can include multiple poems)

Novel: A synopsis and up to 15,000 words (please include a word count)

Short stories: Up to two stories, a maximum of 8000 words combined (they can be as short as you like – please include a word count for each story)

Non-fiction: A synopsis and up to 15,000 words (please include a word count)

Scripts: A synopsis and up to 30 pages

To apply please download an application form here.

Please then send your completed application form, along with one copy of your work to:

Free Reads
Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3GA

You can also send your application by email to

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday 4th December 2017.

If you have any questions please contact our Learning and Participation Coordinator, Joe Bibby: / 020 7324 2562

I was very fortunate to win a free read by TLC, of the first 50 pages of my novel, and I can say in all honesty that the help was enormous. The ‘reader’ was genuinely encouraging while offering experienced, informative and valid feedback.

Advice for applying

– Novels, short stories and non-fiction pieces need to be double-spaced and in a 12pt font.

– If work is to be returned you must include a stamped addressed envelope (SAE). Otherwise your submission will be recycled and your report emailed.

– For poetry, please include a total word count for each poem at the bottom of each poem, and include total word count of all the poems added together on the application form. Poems should be formatted in their intended publication format.

– For short stories, please include the total word count of each short story at the bottom of each story, and the total combined word count on the application form.

– If you are submitting an extract from a longer piece such as a novel or non-fiction work, please make sure you include a 1-2 page synopsis or outline of the entire work, describing your intended audience/market and stating what genre you are writing in.

– All extracts should be consecutive and numbered, starting from page one, and not comprised of several extracts. These will not be accepted.

– In section two of your application form, under ‘Information for your Reader’, you should tell us about yourself and your writing history. You may also wish to include any questions you would like your reader to address.

– When filling out the application pack, your ‘Regional Writing Partner’ is Arvon.

– You do not need to send financial evidence as you have already done this to receive a grant.


In order to be eligible to apply for a TLC Free Read you must have received an Arvon grant to attend a course in 2017. This does not include teachers’ grants.

You must also have submitted the grant report which is required of all recipients who receive a grant. If you are yet to submit your grant report, please note that applications which are accompanied by a grant report will become eligible.

TLC’s Terms and Conditions

– There are a limited number of Free Reads available through Arvon; selection will be based on the quality of the work.

– TLC Free Reads are granted to low-income, high-quality writers; in the case of Arvon as Regional Writing Partner, this means applications are only available to 2017 grant recipients.

– The Free Reads Scheme is free but all manuscript return requests require an SAE, otherwise manuscripts will be destroyed.

– Applicants can only apply once every two years.

– If you received a Free Read last year, you are not eligible to apply this year. However, you will be eligible in future years.

– TLC can refuse any material which is deemed unlikely to benefit from the critical reading service or if a reader finds that a submission has been previously published or if we cannot find a suitable editor for your work. If your work is not accepted, it will be returned within 30 days if there is an SAE provided.

– We accept only single-authored work.

– We accept only writing in English.

– The applicant should not be part of a creative writing programme or longer writing course.

– Applicants must be 16 or over.


Joe Bibby
Learning and Participation Coordinator

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