TLC Free Reads Scheme 2017-2018


Spread the Word is delighted to be supporting The Literary Consultancy again with their Free Reads Scheme.

The Literary Consultancy Free Reads Scheme offers talented, low-income writers the opportunity to apply for bursaried (non-fee paying) access to their manuscript assessment service, available for extracts or full manuscripts across fiction, creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry, scripts and screenplays. These are matched to a suitable reader from TLC’s list of 80+ professional editors and writers can expect to receive feedback in the form of a written critique, sent within 4-6 weeks of the application being processed.

The Free Reads scheme particularly welcomes applications from writers belonging to groups currently under-represented in publishing including women writers, disabled writers, BAME writers, and members of the LGBQTA community. TLC are supported by a number of regional partners across the UK and Spread the Word will be processing entries from writers living in London.

You are eligible to enter (via Spread the Word) if you live in London and are on a low-income, meeting one of the following criteria:

  • You are in receipt of Job Seeker’s Allowance, disability benefit, income support or working tax credit

  • You earn less than the London Living Wage of £9.45 per hour

  • You are a full-time student

  • You are aged 60 or over

If you are a low-income writer 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.

We open for applications on Monday 3 July and the deadline is 5pm on Monday 4 December 2017. Applicants need to submit four documents to enter the scheme:

  • A completed TLC Free Reads Scheme form (available to download on this page)

  • The first 1,000 words of your writing 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

  • Documentation that shows you meet the critiera to apply for a Free Read

You can either enter online via Submittable here:

Alternatively, you can send your entry via post. The postal address to send your submission to is: Spread the Word (Free Reads), The Albany, Douglas Way, London, SE8 4AG. All postal entries will receive an e-mail receipt.

We will notify all writers of the outcome on the week commencing 15 January 2018.

We have provided a list of FAQs with details on how to submit your entry. Before submitting please check that you:

  • Meet the criteria as set out above

  • Have read through the FAQs

  • Have all the documents ready to enter the scheme

  • Submit your entry before the deadline – 5pm on Monday 4 December 2017

If you have any additional queries please email Aliya Gulamani at We look forward to receiving your submission!

TLC Free Reads 2017-2018 Application Form (word)

TLC Free Reads 2017-2018 Application Form (pdf)


Published 3 July 2017