TLC celebrates 25th anniversary with party and 'digital kitchen table'

TLC celebrates 25th anniversary with party and 'digital kitchen table'

The Literary Consultancy (TLC) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a host of events including an in-person party at the Fora Conservatory in Spitalfields as well as a "digital kitchen table" featuring its impact on writers.

The party, on 25th November, will feature a “What Editors Want” live podcast with Wildfire’s senior commissioning editor Philip Connor and special guest Marianne Tatepo, commissioning editor at Ebury Press and Pop Press. There will also be a performance featuring poet Lydia Allison and dancer Akeim Toussaint and a screening of Ashley Hickson-Lovence’s “Why I Write” film, specially commissioned for the anniversary. The event at London's Spitalfields will be “live-illustrated” by Katie Chappell, creating a digital keepsake of the evening, and it will all be streamed with captions.   

TLC director Aki Schilz said: “As TLC celebrates a quarter of a century supporting, championing and advocating for writers, we are looking to the future of the company and of the writing service industry at large. We look forward to the next 25 years, and to being part of many more writing journeys along the way.” 

The 25th anniversary programme launched in June with four specially commissioned films, in the series "Why I Write: Tales of Creativity and Resilience". The pieces, produced in partnership with Story Machine, include interviews with four writers—Hanif Kureishi, Elle McNicoll, Kit de Waal and Ashley Hickson-Lovence—and explore the personal and wider importance of nurturing literary creativity.

The TLC was founded at a kitchen table by editors Rebecca Swift and Hannah Griffiths in 1996 as the first editorial consultancy of its kind, with Griffiths describing it as “a simple idea, beautifully sustained and grown by Becky and the team over all these years”. Swift, also a poet, died in 2017 aged 53. An innovative online feature, a “digital kitchen table” has launched on the TLC website, featuring 25 years’ worth of experiences from those who have worked with the consultancy and from the wider writing community.

TLC has expanded beyond its core manuscript assessment service over the years and now offers an intensive one-to-one mentoring programme (Chapter and Verse) along with online resources and an events programme. In 2020, the consultancy launched Being a Writer, pitched as an affordable digital membership platform for writers. The organisation is currently working on an “ambitious new strategic plan that revives its founding values".

Many in the industry paid tribute to the legacy of the organisation as it reaches its quarter-century. Chris Gribble, c.e.o. for the National Centre for Writing, said: “It has pursued that vision unwaveringly over its 25-year history and has created real change and positive impact in its wake.” 

Crystal Mahey-Morgan, founder of OWN IT!, commented: “It was such a pleasure to be part of the TLC journey and to see first-hand the difference they make to writers. It’s an excellent team under excellent leadership with Aki Schilz, and it's exciting to not only celebrate the past, but also to look ahead to the next 25 years.” 

For more information, visit the TLC website.