Free Reads scheme 2020-2021 opens for London writers


Spread the Word is delighted to be an official partner for The TLC Free Reads scheme, supporting applications from London writers. Over the last 10 years, we’ve supported 47 writers with receiving professional feedback.  

The Free Reads Scheme is managed by The Literary Consultancy and funded by Arts Council England. It is open to writers of fiction, non-fiction, short stories, poetry, scripts and screenplays. It offers writers the opportunity to receive professional, editorial feedback on their writing. The Free Read scheme particularly welcomes applications from writers belonging to groups currently under-represented in publishing including disabled writers, writers of colour*, and members of the LGBQTIA+ community. 

From 2020-2021, the scheme is open from Monday 20 July 2020. There are two submission windows for writers to submit: Monday 20 July-Monday 2 November and Monday 2 November-Monday 22 February. 

To apply for the Free Reads scheme via Spread the Word, you must live in London and be on a low-income, meeting one of the following criteria: 

– You are in receipt of Job seeker’s allowance, Disability benefit, Income support, Working tax credit, Universal Credit or Child benefits
– You earn less than the London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour or a £23k annual salary**
– You are a full-time student
– You are aged 60 or over 

If you identify as being on low-income but do not meet one of the criteria listed above then please get in touch as we are able to evaluate applicants’ eligibility on a case-by-case basis. 

For more details on how and what to submit please head to this page: 

We have a FAQs page for any enquiries on entering the scheme, but if yours is not listed there, please get in touch and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Our FAQs are also available as inclusive reads in standard and large print. The links to these are below:

We look forward to receiving your submission.  

*Writers of colour: Black, Asian, Arabic, Mixed-Raced and Non-white Latinx 

**Please note that if you are currently furloughed and taking in less than £23k annually, you’re eligible to apply for the scheme. 

Published 20 July 2020
Updated 1 October 2020