Are you a budding writer? Would you benefit from constructive professional feedback on your work?

We are pleased to be part of the Arts Council England (ACE) Free Read Scheme.

The scheme offers low-income writers the opportunity to get free professional feedback on their writing via The Literary Consultancy, the UK's leading editorial consultancy.

It has helped 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.

Since 2001, The Literary Consultancy has been in receipt of funding from Arts Council England to extend its offer to those unable to pay the fees for its commercial services.

How it works

The Literary Consultancy processes novels, short stories, non-fiction, poetry, scripts and screenplays, offering professional critical feedback.

Your work will be hand-matched to one of The Literary Consultancy's 90+ professional readers. You can expect to receive feedback in the form of a written critique. The notes you receive are intended to help you develop your writing further. Read more about whether a manuscript assessment would be helpful.

Who can apply

We are looking for high quality writing, as we can only submit a limited number of manuscripts due to demand and how much funding there is.

To apply, you must:

  • be over 16
  • be on low income
  • write in English

You must not:

  • have applied last year (you can't apply for 2 years in a row)
  • be part of a creative writing programme or longer writing course
  • work for the regional writing organisation you apply through

The Free Read Scheme particularly welcomes applications from writers belonging to groups that are under-represented in publishing, including:

  • women
  • people with disabilities
  • people who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)
  • members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community

How to apply

Applications have closed for this financial year until the end March 2024.

All submissions must be made online. All writing (with the exception of poetry) should be formatted double-spaced, in a 12pt font, and saved as Word or PDF document.

For poetry, state how many lines the submission contains.

For short stories, state how many words the submission contains.

Please also tell us a bit about yourself and your writing history. This can include any particular questions you would particularly like addressed.

You can submit any of the following:

  • synopsis and up to 15,000 words
  • short stories: up to 3000 words
  • poetry: up to 200 lines
  • TV, Film, Radio and Theatre scripts
  • treatments (averaging 350 words per page): up to 10 pages
  • scripts (averaging 250 words per page): up to 30 pages
  • Illustrated picture books for children: 1 or 2 books

Contact us if you are unable to submit work in a digital format.


A few words can express deep emotion – if you have never tried reading poetry, why not try now?

The National Poetry Library has a large online collection of modern poems to read and listen to. 

The Poetry Foundation is committed to creating a place for poetry in modern culture. Read and listen to poems and read articles about poetry and poets.

The Children's Poetry Archive has a great collection of poems for children, read aloud with themes to explore and poems listed by age group.