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.
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.
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.
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.
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.