TLC Free Reads

Notebook on a table during an Arvon course

If you received a low-income grant or benefits-related concession to attend a course at one of our houses or an Arvon at Home online writing week in 2021, then you are eligible to apply for the chance to win a free editorial assessment from The Literary Consultancy (TLC).

The TLC Free Reads Scheme offers low-income writers the opportunity to get free professional feedback on their writing via The Literary Consultancy, the UK’s leading editorial consultancy. TLC has helped hundreds of writers on to publication, but its main aim is to support writers developing their work and honing their writing craft through structured constructive feedback. 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.

Recipients of low-income grants or income-based concessions can apply for an assessment for one of the following:

Longform prose (Novels or non-fiction): A synopsis and up to 15,000 words (please include a word count)

Short stories (including flash fiction): Up 8000 words combined, in as many stories as you like (please include a word count for each story and total)

Poetry: Up to 200 lines of poetry, in as many poems as you like (please include a line count for each poem and total)

Scripts and treatments: A synopsis and up to 30 pages

Children’s picture books: Up to 4 picture books (please send the text only)

To read more about TLC and whether a manuscript assessment would be helpful, click here:


How to Apply

You are eligible to apply if you received a low-income grant or benefits-related concession to attend a course at one of our Houses or Arvon at Home online writing week in 2021. Please complete the 2022 ACE Free Reads Scheme Application form making sure to specify Arvon as the name of Regional Writing Partner.

Send your completed application and manuscript for the attention of Sophie Lloyd-Catchpole to

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 4th March 2022. If you have won a Free Read you will be informed by the 11th March 2022. For further information regarding submission guidelines please visit The Literary Consultancy website.

Please note this is a limited opportunity, and successful applicants will be selected by Arvon. If you have won a Free Read you will be informed by the 11th March 2022.

If you have any questions please contact our Learning Coordinator, Sophie Lloyd-Catchpole at


“I’m grateful for the opportunity and the feedback and encouragement I received is priceless. I have gained so much confidence because of my feedback and I was taught so many valuable things which I will continue to apply in the future. To also be given this opportunity given my current financial situation is just an amazing. Thank you.” — TLC Free Read Recipient



TLC Submission Rules and Guidelines

  • Free Reads are granted to low income, high quality writers.
  • All applications must be correctly formatted (12-point font, double spaced for fiction/non-fiction; including word counts for short stories/poetry)
  • Applicants cannot apply two years in a row for a Free Read.
  • Applicants cannot work for the regional writing organisation they apply through.
  • 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.
  • 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 over 16.
  • TLC’s full manuscript assessment terms and conditions are available here.

About TLC

Established in 1996 as the first service of its kind, The Literary Consultancy (TLC) offers a range of services for writers including manuscript assessment, mentoring, and events at its base the Free Word Centre in London. TLC services are available to all writers, at all stages of development, writing in English.


Application Follow-up

We are unable to offer feedback to applicants who are not selected for this opportunity. If you have won a Free Read you will be informed in the week commencing 5th March 2021. If selected, TLC will contact you directly to confirm that your manuscript has been placed with a reader, and your feedback report will then be emailed to you within 4-6 weeks.