Happy Birthday to us!

The Literary Consultancy turns 25

Inspired by the fact that TLC was started at the kitchen table of Rebecca Swift, we have created a digital ‘kitchen table’ to celebrate a quarter century of supporting writers and the literary community. We’d really love to take this moment to invite you to pop a message onto our kitchen table.

Please feel free to be as creative as you like: poems, postcards, doodles and videos are all welcome!

Send us a card

Your cards and messages

A huge thank you from us – all at Team TLC – to you in this very special year. It’s a privilege to head up such a wonderful team of in-house staff and freelancers, and to recognise our extended family of writers who are so consistently brilliant. We do this for you. And we will continue to do this for you. Thank you, and vive TLC. Aki

Aki Schilz, Director TLC

For 25 years TLC has been one of the writer’s greatest friends and allies, and it’s been a privilege to work with such a talented team that has always been committed to putting authors at the heart of everything they do. Congratulations to Aki, Joe and Nelima for keeping the flame of Becky’s vision burning so brightly as they’ve continued to innovate in such new and exciting ways. Happy happy birthday!

Anna South

Thank you so much for everything you do!!! Happy happy birthday

Bianca Caputo

Happy birthday, TLC! It’s been a joy to be a part of your incredible journey in some small way! Here’s to the next 25 years! All my best, Victoria

Victoria Adukwei Bulley

Happy Birthday TLC. 25 years of helping writers and celebrating writing. Brilliant!

Sally Lovell

Happy birthday 🎂 to The Literary Consultancy, hoping you have many more years of success in support of up and coming authors blessings to you 💐🎈🎊

Jean Grant

Happy Anniversary TLC and thank you for your professionalism and support, but also your warmth!

Clare Hobba

Happy 25th birthday to all at TLC! It has been a pleasure to work with you, and I’ve learned so much in the years of writing reader reports, and made some good friends along the way too. Thanks for everything and cheers to you! 💜

Chelsey Flood

Having just watched the 25th anniversary live stream and remembering the 5th anniversary party it is so wonderful and heartening to see the journey TLC has grown through and the happy heathy bright and inspiring state it is currently in. Congratulations! And thank you for letting me continue to be a part of it. Tamsin

Tamsin at Pynto

Ashley Hickson Lovence said, ‘It takes a community to raise a writer.’ Thanks for caring enough to offer access routes to creative writing for all. You are definitely part of my community. Enjoy plenty of cake, you deserve it!

Fiona Linday

Happy birthday. Can the next edition be a cake!


Happy birthday TLC! Here’s to 25 more years supporting writers 🎉thanks for everything, Bethan


Happy Birthday you lot! It remains an absolute please to work with you all.

Dr Steve Carver

Many congratulations to TLC on your 25th! What a brill idea Becky and Hannah had all those years ago – and how wonderfully it’s been brought to fruition. Becky brought to it her rich mix of curiosity, warmth and canniness to make it the success it is now. And with such good people on board, she and they have enlarged TLC’s scope with imagination and adventurousness. Long may it carry on its invaluable work.

Ruthie Petrie

Happy Birthday! Wish I was still 25!

Lucy Weldon

Happy 25th Birthday TLC! Thank you so much for my Katharine Orton bursary and Free Read, and for the fab Writers Days and the Secret Life of the Novel sessions Sadie x

Sadie Nott

Congratulations on 25 years! TLC has set the bench mark for high quality editorial service to writers. Long may you flourish! PS I remember Becky’s kitchen table covered with piles of mss, and also her lugging enormous bags of manuscripts to the post office down the road in N8.

Eva Lewin, Spread the Word

Many congratulations on the milestone anniversary for the business. It has played a part in my life and I wish you all the best now and going forward.

Malcolm Hall

Happy Birthday to all at TLC!!


Very many congratulations! Here’s wishing for many more successful years. Mo 😊👍🥂🎉👏🎂

Mo Voaden

Congrats on reaching your 25th. Will you stop counting now and forever be 25 or will you continue to age and mature? I think i know the answer, but Happy Birthday anyway. One of the little boys (in the photo) is me, making my first holy communion in 1958. xx Eamon

Eamon Somers (Dolly Considine’s Hotel)

Happy 25th anniversary Aki and the TLC community. I have such fond memories of the Writing in a Digital Age conferences and hanging out with you at the Free Word Centre. Those conferences were so friendly, warm and thoughtfully curated. Aki, you have done an incredible job in recent years of growing the organisation and creating ever more connections and intersections for both writers and publishing industry folk. Rebecca would be so proud and I hope she is feeling the love for her legacy from wherever she is now. Bring on the next 25…

Kristen Harrison

Congratulations on 25 years of doing amazing work nurturing and offering invaluable support to writers.

Jane Corbett

For 25 years, The Literary Consultancy have been one of the most important champions of writers and writing. Careers in literature have started, matured and flourished under their guidance, and they have offered pathways and nurtured the abilities, as well as boosted the confidence, for all kinds of writers, whether they be hopeful, uncertain or shy. Its late founder, Rebecca Swift, would be both happy with the direction the consultancy has continued to go in and what is in store for its future. Happy birthday TLC.

Akeem Balogun

Happy birthday, TLC! Here’s to another 25 years and beyond.

Emma Pass

Happy 25th! Just shows to what good uses a kitchen table can be put,

john west

Many many congratulations on a quarter of a century of brilliant work. I’m very much thinking of the inspiration that was our beloved Becky Swift right now, and proud of her, and of the continuing success of TLC. Happy Birthday!

Joanna Briscoe

Happy birthday to all at TLC. Since starting my mentoring journey I have felt supported and encouraged. The retreat in Spain was a blast. Thanks for everything. Picture shows me finding inspiration every where…

Miriam Coley

Happy Birthday TLC. Congratulations on 25 years of helping people realise their dreams. And here’s to another 25.

Rose McGinty

Happy birthday and congratulations to Aki and the team. As someone who has had the privilege to have worked with TLC via the Arts Council, to have been mentored by Rebecca Swift, and to have partnered with them on The Thinking Woman’s Writing Award I can attest to the very essential work TLC does and the difference TLC makes in and to the lives and careers of writers. Here’s to many more successful years!!!

Katherine Jegede

Happy birthday, TLC – and congratulations Aki, Joe, Nelima and Amy, what a thing you’ve built. Much love to you all.

Rachael (TLC reader)

Happy Birthday. I wish TLC many more.

Sally Zigmond

Happy birthday TLC! Wish you a marvellous celebration!

Emerald Liu

Wishing everyone at TLC a very happy birthday from Ecuador 🇪🇨. The editors for my three books ‘Homo Jihad’ , ‘Pharmakeia’ and more recently’ ‘Company of Angels’ have offered excellent professional advice and for this I am truly grateful. Here’s to 25 more years !

Timothy Graves

The Literary Consultancy is like no other To many of us it feels like Mother. The care, the kind and wise advice Here’s to doing 25 years twice. Happy Birthday TLC

Cindy Etherton

Congratulations on a quarter-century innings!

Scott Lette

Birthday at the Kitchen Table Kindness and positivity are your gifts to us, at our Individual kitchen tables you remind us that Time writing is when we Create something new and good, and you Help us to connect with each other and remember how much Everything we work on is precious and we are Never to be disheartened. TLC and Aki, I wish you a very Happy Birthday and Long may your work Endure

Clare Sandling

Happy birthday you lovely people and thank you from my heart for helping to turn my kitchen table scribbles into published novels.

Mish Cromer

Happy birthday, TLC! It’s been a joy to work as a reader and mentor with such a friendly and supportive team over the years – and to help writers on the path to realizing their dreams. Here’s to many more years to come!

Sue Lascelles

Working with TLC is one of the most valuable experiences of my working life – I have learned so much from Aki and Joe as an editor, a manuscript assessor, and as a mentor, and am better at everything as a result. The LGBTQ+ Free Reads Scheme we have run every Pride Month for the last 5 years has been a joy to do and incredibly rewarding. My initial idea to donate a free read in Becky’s name was taken up by Aki who immediately developed it into the scheme which has benefitted so many marginalised writers so far. Joe’s sponsorship of an extra place this year for a trans/non-binary writer really confirmed how deep is TLC’s commitment to the scheme above and beyond its remit and for this I’m incredibly grateful . There’s a personal warmth in working with Aki, Joe, and Nelima, which you don’t often find in one’s professional life, and a real sense of a TLC community fostered by the whole team – I recently submitted my 100th invoice to them, 😃 and here’s to 100 more… Happy Birthday TLC! Xx

Michael Langan

Congratulations! Happy birthday. What a brilliant organisation and what lovely, generous-hearted people. You’re inspirational. To the next twenty-five. And more! Xx


Happy birthday, TLC! It’s an honour to work with you. Keep up the good work! Simon

Simon Barraclough

You guys are amazing! Long may you continue supporting writers!

Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva

Sorry I can’t join you tonight – already have a local event with Weston Writers booked and paid for! But wishing you every success and looking forward to being a part of Write Club Plus next year! Mark 🍾🎂🎈🙂

Mark Blackburn

Huge thanks to Aki and everyone at The Literary Consultancy for inviting us share a taste of our cross-arts work, fusing poetry and dance, on this special anniversary celebration. Dancing with Words is not about a dancer responding through movement to the words of an independently crafted poem being heard from a voice off-stage. Beautiful and moving though those performances can be, this work is more challenging and intrinsically collaborative. The artists co-create work that requires them to be simultaneously inspiring to and inspired by their artistic partner. It is my hope that many more people will get the chance to enjoy our Dancing with Words performances on a tour of Northern Libraries in Spring 2022 and we are hoping to film an extended piece for National Poetry Day 2022. Happy Birthday TLC! Keep doing all the marvellous things you are doing. Thanks again. Sarah Tyson, Director at Books Up North

Sarah Tyson

I’m an underrepresented writer & I want to thank The Literary Consultancy for their support. I’m disabled, autistic, pansexual, nonbinary, working class & Northern, with no formal education; I didn’t think someone like me could be a writer, but they always treated me like one. Being on a stage in London reading my TLC Pen Factor nominated story was one of the highlights of my life. Thank you for everything! Hopefully this is just the start 🖤

Mx Jay A Gee

Happy birthday, TLC, it’s been a privilege to work with you and to see how much you care about writers and their work. Here’s to many more years for you!

Richard Sheehan

Happy birthday TLC. 25 years of continuous excellent service for our writing community, giving courage and love to so many writers is quite an achievement. Wonderful to see you as strong, vibrant and essential as you ever have been. NWS is proud to be a partner and look forward to the next 25 years!

Lesley Wood

Happy Birthday TLC, long may the great work you do continue!

Michelle Phillips – Literature Works

Happy 25th! You are a first-class set of people, consistently taking Becky’s vision to new heights. I wish you many more years of visionary success. Love from Frankie Bailey X.

Frankie Bailey

Thank you for providing the Free Read Scheme, which gave me clarity, advice & encouragement. Thank you for running the session on how to apply for an Arts Council England grant, which helped me get my ACE grant and gave me the time to write & develop. Thank you for championing writers like me, the underdog whose face/class/accent you welcomed with open arms. Thank you for giving your positive energy, which kept me going and trying. THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO & HAPPY 25th BIRTHDAY!

Seema McArdle

There are no borders, no fences inside a writer’s head. Their world is limitless…

Lynne Taylor

Enjoy your birthday just as the Leaf does with It’s world around and you with all your authors you support.

Sundaer Walker

Happy, Happy Birthday Fabulous TLC! Receiving my initial manuscript assessment for mentoring was one of the highlights of my writing life, so too the ongoing mentoring process. I am truly grateful you were “born”, truly grateful for **all** you do. Quite simply, thank you for being YOU. Sandra

Sandra Jensen

Happy 25th birthday! It’s an incredible thing to share a birth year with the company you work for. What an honour it is to be a part of The Literary Consultancy, and see it go from strength to strength, supporting and encouraging every kind of writer, and helping everyone feel creative. I can’t wait to carry on growing up with TLC. We’ve got so many more amazing things to accomplish together! Nelima x

Nelima Begum (TLC)

Wishing you the very best for a brilliant future

Sundar Walker

The support and expert advice of the Literary Consultancy was outstanding and kept me writing and revising. A report on my draft novel Talland House showed me I needed to take a Creative Writing Diploma which brought the novel to fruition. Often creative writing courses only see novels in sections. So, following the course, I took a TLC nine-month mentorship which really helped me restructure and fine tune. Without TLC Talland House would not be finished let alone published! It was listed by the Washington Independent Review of Books as one of its 51 books of 2020 alongside Shuggie Bain and Hamnet! Thanks TLC! The TLC is a jewel in the literary landscape.

Maggie Humm

It was Becky Swift, and Rebecca de Saintonge, who first introduced me to the book world. I worked for TLC way back when, as the (elderly) ‘junior’, learning the ropes as I went along, particularly impressed by Becky’s insistence that writing was not only about getting published, and by her generosity and encouragement to all writers. Becky was one of the most honest, genuine, funny, eccentric and loveable people I’ve ever met, and I will never forget her or my time at TLC. HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY! (The photo is Becky at TLC’s 10th party in 2006)

Patsy Trench

Writing is an art a fun subject to be shared and discussed with others. To encourage old and new faces. An inspiration to us allx🐵

Vhris Law

Aki and your team Happy 25th birthday. Wow what a milestone and so many fond memories of you all. Rebecca would be so proud of all you are doing I’m sure of it! Lots of love Justine X

Justine Solomons

Thanks for being there through the ups and downs of creativity. Always a beacon of light guiding the way, a refuge when feeling isolated and a place to go when needing an advice. Happy birthday and here’s to the next 25 years!

Dominique De-Light

Happy Birthday TLC You almost share it with me (If you add half a century on) For writers, always the one! Thanks for the opportunities, the bursaries and encouragement from my productivity side kick and I xx

Jools Abrams

Thank you for helping me work towards my writing aspirations over the past 12 months. You are awesome!!


It’s hard to believe that 25 years have passed since Becky & I first talked about setting up a feedback service for writers. Memory suggests we spent as much time singing Joni Mitchell songs as we did discussing our creative enterprise in those early days. Happy Birthday TLC. Such a simple idea, beautifully sustained and grown by Becky and the team over all these years.

Hannah Griffiths

My journey with TLC has been one of adventure, development and achievement. They have also been the most supportive. Without question TLC – beginning with mentoring from Becky Swift – revolutionised my life as a writer. Not only have I learnt to value my own work through them, but they have opened significant pathways to the exposure and understanding of untold diverse stories – including, at last, the disability story.

Penny Pepper

TLC was founded with a generous, inclusive and ethically-driven view of how our publishing industries might better support, represent and serve writers and readers alike. It has pursued that vision unwaveringly over its 25 year history and has created real change and positive impact in its wake. As partners, NCW is proud to have been part of that journey and we’re looking forward to being part of the next chapter in TLC’s story.

Chris Gribble, CEO, National Centre for Writing

I first met Becky Swift in the cafe at the British Library where she ‘interviewed’ me for a role as a reader for TLC. This was in 1999 and I had just got my first publishing contract with Faber, for The Red Dancer, my fictional biography of Mata Hari. I went on to read for TLC for a bit more than 10 years, writing hundreds of reports. It was my only source of income for a long time; I will always be grateful for the break TLC gave me. Not only that, but Bex and I became close friends, travelling together to do various literature events both within the UK and abroad. After I stopped reading for TLC, we used to meet for dinner every few months, meals that were always full of laughter and very frank discussion. Becky was someone I confided in and trusted implicitly and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about her terrible jokes and her love of musicals.

Richard Skinner, Faber Academy

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 exciting to not only celebrate the past but also, to look ahead to the next 25 years.

Crystal Mahey-Morgan, OWN IT!

I treasure the manuscript assessment which TLC did for my Viking novel RAVEN: Blood Eye back in 2005. Nine pages detailing what my manuscript lacked and how I could improve it, which was worth more to me than any creative writing course. I drank up that precious advice like mead, and just over a year later Transworld signed the RAVEN trilogy. When you’re starting out it’s as though there’s some magic key to the publishing door that others know about, but you don’t. A good agent helps, so too an editor/publisher who can see the value in your work. But it all starts with the manuscript. TLC was my magic key.

Giles Kristian

My writing journey skyrocketed after I won the TLC Pen Factor Writing Competition in 2019, as it was through this Godsent opportunity that I met my agent. Since then, Aki, Joe and Nelima have been great champions of my upcoming debut Yinka, Where is your huzband? I am so thankful to TLC. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

A very Happy 25th Birthday to TLC! A quarter century of championing writers, building connections and supporting new voices. Such a priviledge and joy to be a small part of it – here’s a picture of me at my desk as an intern 6 years ago, when TLC was still a teenager! Xxx

Joe Sedgwick (TLC)

Massive congratulations on reaching the age of 25. Here’s to the next 25 years!

Simon and all at Bookswarm

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