Deadline: Tuesday 6th August 2024, 11.59pm BST

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Free Reads is back! Shape Arts has partnered with The Literary Consultancy for another year to facilitate their Free Reads scheme which provides opportunities for professional feedback for low-income writers from underrepresented backgrounds. TLC, the UK’s leading literary consultancy, run the scheme every year, helping 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.

This service is available for extracts or full manuscripts across fiction, non-fiction, short stories, picture books, poetry, scripts and screenplays. Alongside the main Manuscript Assessments, TLC are offering additional support this year to apply to. This includes: Editor 1-1s, Submission Package Reports and Power Hour calls.

Free Reads provides free access to a professional reader, who will provide written feedback on a sample of your work. The pool of writers will be decided by Shape following a selection process. All selected writers will receive access to TLC’s ‘Being A Writer’ online portal for 6 months.

Who is eligible to apply?

In order to be considered for this opportunity you will need to be:

  • A writer who is actively engaged in your practice, whether or not you are published or aiming for publication

  • Self-identify as disabled * (see our resource on the social model of disability)

  • On a low income (please note you will be asked to provide proof of receipt of benefits, tax credits, pay slip or short written explanation of your circumstances do contact us if you wish further clarification)

  • A resident of England

  • Over the age of 16 (please note that proof will be required) 

  • You cannot be part of a creative writing programme or longer writing course at the time of submission

  • You cannot reapply if you received a free read last year

  • The piece to be critiqued must be your own single authored original work, and not written as part of a collaboration

  • All Free Reads are subject to TLC’s Manuscript Assessment Terms and Conditions. Please make sure you have read and understood these.

How to apply for Free Reads

Download the application form

📢 Listen to the audio summary of the application form questions: 

If you meet the criteria above and would like to be considered for professional critique, please follow these steps:

  • Prepare a sample of the work you would like professionally read to send to us. This must not exceed 5,000 words for prose, 20 pages for scripts, and 100 lines for poetry. The scheme is open to writers across all forms and genres, this includes fiction and non-fiction work, as well as poetry, short stories, scripts, screenplays, and radio plays.
  • Make sure your text is in size 12 font and double spaced.
  • Once done, please send it to [email protected] along with a completed application form. 
  • The deadline for applications is Tuesday 6th August 2024, 11.59pm BST.
  • We will assess the work for quality and be in touch about the rest of the process.
  • Our FAQs form should answer questions in more detail, but if you need support or have a question, please contact us via [email protected] 

Read the FAQ

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Banner image description: On a plain moss green background, a stack of books with different coloured covers are arranged on top of one another on the left hand side. To the right is a round logo for TLC Free Reads Partners.