Winners 2017/18

TLC Free Reads 2017/18 was open to writers of prose (fiction, children’s, narrative non-fiction and short stories), poetry, and scripts for TV, Film, Radio or Theatre.

Our winners are announced below – congratulations to all and we look forward to hearing more from you in future!

TLC is funded by Arts Council England.

Nick Armitage, ‘winterwonderland’ (fiction, prose)

Nick has been writing for the last five years. He has self-published a book of short stories on Amazon titled The Hotel Thief (which includes a story that was beneficial of a TLC Free Read three years ago) and has written three full length theatre plays. Recently he was the recipient of a Playwright’s bursary from The Arvon Foundation.

Nick is currently writing Winterwonderland a novel composed of a series of linked stories/episodes that flow between London, Paris, the Swiss Alps and Stockholm. Some characters drift in and out of each other’s stories but the books timeline is linear and there is a major inciting incident for the whole story. It’s a literary thriller.

Nick is looking for an audience and an agent.

Sofia Ashdown, ‘Forged in Blood and Lightning’ (fiction, prose)

Sofia is writing a fantasy trilogy and is looking to find an agent for the first book. She has submitted to some agents in the past and received positive comments. Sofia recently won a short story competition in Writing Magazine, with an article soon to be published in the same magazine. In the past she has published non-fiction in Kindred Spirit Magazine and short stories in two local writing anthologies. While attending university several years ago, she completed a ten week writing course.

Sally-Anne Lomas, ‘Live Like Your Head’s On Fire’ (prose, YA fiction)

Sally-Anne Lomas was selected for Writers’ Centre Norwich’s Escalator Talent Development Programme in 2016. She has written one novel, Live Like Your Head’s On Fire, longlisted for the Fish Young Adult Fiction Competition, and has been awarded an Arts Council Grant to write her second novel, Dancing with Dogs, aimed at the new adult market.

Live Like Your Head’s On Fire follows the adventures of fourteen year old Pen Fairweather who has trouble sleeping. Pen discovers an exhilarating freedom dancing on the empty streets of suburban Birmingham in the dark hours of the night.  But when Pen runs away to London the night turns against her and now she dances to survive.

Jon Ransom, The Whale Tattoo (prose, fiction)

Jon is a gay working-class writer trying to prepare his debut novel, The Whale Tattoo, for publication.

In the past he has attended one writing class, and has had short stories published in SAND Journal and Foglifter Press. This is his first serious project (other than short stories). His writing is something he takes seriously, work towards improving daily, and he has absolute determination to get published.

SAND Journal and another in Foglifter Press

In The Whale Tattoo, Joe Gunner is in his mid-twenties and works in a chip shop with Fit Lad. His world is defined by his belief that death follows him wherever he goes because there’s something wrong with him. After a giant sperm whale washes up on the local beach he decides it’s time to take the fifteen mile trip home. There, he re-kindles a troubled relationship with Fysh – a local fisherman – punching home the theme of cyclical hate. But nothing prepares Joe for when the river begins to speak to him, and he is confronted with the truth that his sister, Birdie, died two years earlier. As Joe navigates his own story and learns the truth about the river, he finds we all have the capability to hate, and ultimately it’s a choice we make.

Christopher Sherwood, ‘untitled’ (prose, fiction)

Christopher is an aspiring writer with a first-class BA in Writing from Anglia Ruskin University. Earlier this year, his short-film script The Stranger won a competition by independent cinema group Indie Flicks in search of their next in-house production. Since then he has enjoyed working with their team in the pre-production phase.

The extract Chris has chosen for submission is the first chapter of his work-in-progress fantasy novel, so far untitled. The story is unabashedly inspired by epic fantasies like The Lord of the Rings, but shares stylistic elements with young-adult fiction like The Hunger Games. Set in a mythical prehistoric world, Ren – the lone survivor of her tribe – must unravel the mystery of what happened to her people, and unite the land’s other warring tribes to face a resurgent ancient evil.