Free Reads Scheme 2022-23 open for London writers


We are excited to announce that this year’s Free Reads Scheme is now open for applications! 

Spread the Word is delighted to be an official partner for The Literary Consultancy Free Reads Scheme, supporting applications from London writers. In the last 12 years, we’ve supported over 60 writers with receiving professional editorial feedback via Free Reads.   

Read Kayleigh Cassidy’s experience of getting a Free Read last year here. You can also read about Thea Buen’s past experience on the Scheme here.

Free Reads is managed by The Literary Consultancy and funded by Arts Council England. It is open to writers of fiction, non-fiction, short stories, poetry, children’s fiction including picture books, playscripts and screenplays. It offers writers on low incomes the opportunity to receive professional, editorial feedback on their writing. Free Reads 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.  

Spread the Word’s Free Reads is open from Monday 1 August until Friday 30 September (11.59pm) 2022.  

Who is eligible for a Free Read via Spread the Word?   

To apply for the Free Reads scheme via Spread the Word, you must live in Londonand 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 up to or less than the London Living Wage of £11.05 per hour or a £23,000 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. 

 How to Apply  

 Please apply via our Submittable page: 

All applicants must submit:  

– A completed TLC Free Reads Scheme form (available to download here as a PDF and here as a Word document 

– The first 1,000 words of your writing if it is prose fiction or non-fiction, or up to 20 pages if your writing is poetry or script writing 

– A complete synopsis of the written work submitted. The synopsis must clearly show your story’s outline and should not exceed 1,000 words. We highly recommend that you check out our Pocket Guide to Writing a Synopsis before sending yours in. 

– Documentation that shows you meet the criteria to apply for a Free Read. This may be in the form of a benefit letter, payslip, HMRC self-assessment paperwork/tax statement, confirmation of your student status or a pension. Please check out our FAQs for more information on this.   

The window for submitting: Monday 1 August – Friday 30 September 2022.   

We have an 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.   

We look forward to receiving your submission.   

*Writers of colour: Black, Asian, and Global Majority ethnicities 

**You must have an annual income of £23,000k or less, including pensions and other forms of income. 

Published 1 August 2022