Feedback for your creative writing needs to be thoughtful,
professional and valuable. Our critiques help you to develop
and edit your writing.
Almost all our reviewers have backgrounds
in the worlds of publishing, education and professional
writing. The reviewers who take on the bulk of our work
are editors, book doctors or published writers. We all
of us read fiction regularly – perhaps obsessively – and
have done so for many years. We read with a strong critical
faculty to the fore and are ready to help writers with
our insightful, constructive reviews.
background: editor and literary agent
YA and crossover with a dark edge – crime, horror,
dystopia...and conversely contemporary romance. I love
a strong, distinct voice and a hook that
favourite authors: Margaret
Atwood, Julianna Baggott, Tanya Byrne, David Levithan,
Sarra Manning, JoJo
Niffenegger and Evelyn Waugh spring to mind right now.
background: American editor, author and journalist
love good stories, well told. Whatever the style or genre – I’m as happy reading literary fiction
as I am romantic comedy or mystery – I just like
to read something thoughtful and true. Whether it’s
challenging, entertaining or provocative, I want to feel
like a writer really has something to say and wants to
take me on a journey.
favourite authors: Jane Austen, Fannie Flagg, Margaret
Atwood, Tom Stoppard, Barbara Kingsolver, Alan Bennett,
Antonia Fraser, Josephine Tey, David Sedaris, Jhumpa Lahiri,
Kurt Vonnegut, and many others.
background: literary scout, agent, tutor, editor,
translator, journalist, ghostwriter
fiction which alters one’s view
of the way the world, or is stylistically interesting or
admirable. High concept thrillers, science-fiction, fantasy
and psychological mysteries. Literary and narrative non-fiction.
favourite authors: Don DeLillo, Nicola Barker, Niall Griffiths,
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Herman Hesse, Cormac McCarthy,
Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Bob Shaw, Leo Tolstoy,
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mikhail Bulgakov, Yevgeniy Zamyatin,
Chekhov, David Seabrook, David Foster Wallace, Robert
Macfarlane, Roger Deakin
background: editor and author
love a good story and I like being made to laugh. I really
a good genre tale as well, whether it's
horror, crime or science fiction. And I have a strong editorial
background in children’s writing.
for humorous fiction, Kingsley Amis, Charles Dickens,
P.G. Wodehouse and Patrick Hamilton; for
science fiction, J.G. Ballard, Joe Haldeman, Dan Simmons
and Brian Aldiss; for non-fiction Jon Krakauer; for crime,
Ruth Rendell, Ed McBain and Agatha Christie.
background: editing of fiction and academic writing
passion: Good writing! I love and respect authors who challenge
conventional ideas about form and character, as well as
life and politics. I also love filmmakers who do the same
favourite authors: Angela
Carter, E. L. Doctorow, Jean Rhys, Gore Vidal, Hanif Kureishi,
B. S. Johnson, James
Baldwin, Mikhail Bulgakov, John Fowles
background: editing, proof-reading, commercial
and creative writing
popular and semi-literary fiction, sometimes with a magic
realism element; some fantasy and the occasional crime
or thriller to spice things up. Drama; I enjoy dramatic
scenarios and don't get enough of them in real life."
favourite authors: Joanne
Harris, Alice Hoffman, James Robertson, Mark Haddon, Barbara
Trapido, Sarah Waters, Audrey Niffenegger, Peter Ackroyd,
Julian Barnes, Kitty Fitzgerald, Jackie Gay, Terry Pratchett,
Trudi Canavan, JK Rowling, Philip Pullman, Reginald Hill,
PD James, Sophie Hannah, Ann Cleeves, Robert Goddard, Arthur
Miller, Alan Garner.
(John has an MA in Creative Writing), teaching English
as a foreign language, management consultancy.
love the short story form and read short stories every
day. As for longer works, I enjoy contemporary novels
with complex structures of time and layers of reality."
favourite authors: Jenn Ashworth,
Zoe Lambert and Sarah Dobbs. I also love novels by Kazuo
Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Julian Barnes, Jeannette Winterson,
Will Self and David Nobbs. Short story favourites include
Ethan Coen, James Joyce, Alan Bennett, Michel Faber, Raymond
Carver, Helen Simpson, JG Ballard and William Trevor.
background: librarian, proofreader, reviewer and
read every genre, but I’m obsessed by good children’s
and young adult fiction as a former children’s specialist;
I also have an unhealthy obsession with apocalyptic and
dystopian fiction, and love getting lost in an historical
drama. Well-crafted psychological horror is my guilty pleasure
and ghosts and the gothic send lovely chills down my spine.
favourite authors: Douglas
Adams, Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Emily Bronte, Roald
Dahl, Tana French, Neil Gaiman, Susan Hill, Alice Hoffman,
Sherryl Jordan, Stephen King, Nigel Kneale, John Ajvide
Lindqvist, Karen Maitland, Daphne du Maurier, Julie Myerson,
consultant and adviser to an award-winning crime writer.
novels – I like writers
with a really good, original style, which implies rather
than states. I read a lot of contemporary crime fiction
and prefer those authors who develop their characters well
and bring some new thoughts to the subject. I also love
to encourage children to read and am in touch through my
work with the sort of books they most enjoy. “
authors: Jane Austen, EM Forster, Elizabeth Taylor, Ruth
Rendell, Martin Edwards, CS Lewis, JK Rowling, Anthony
Horowitz, Lemony Snicket, Emma Donoghue, Emma Henderson,
work within publishing, also marketing and publicity.
love discovering new (or at least to me) authors and
distinctive voices across all genres. I appreciate
the art of the well told short story and authors whose
work is so incisive it’s near the knuckle. I mostly
read contemporary fiction and non-fiction titles and strongly
believe there isn’t enough amusing/comical fiction
aimed at adults.
favourite authors: Louise Levene,
S J Bolton, Sophie Hannah, Will Wiles, Antonia Fraser,
Sam Byers, Jude Morgan, Amor
Towles, Jennifer Egan
(linguistics), editor and proof-reader
fiction, classics, non-fiction, poetry, children’s
literature – really, I love compelling stories
across all genres – I’ve always been an avid
and inquisitive reader, with an open mind and very eclectic
tastes, from the intense classics like Joseph Conrad
to the easier, ‘sweep-you-along’ reads like
Dan Brown and Marian Keyes. I particularly love intriguing
and challenging writing with plenty to say, socially,
psychologically or linguistically. I am very passionate
about children’s literature and its potential to
be highly creative, imaginative and inspirational – from
War Horse to Aliens Love Underpants!”
favourite authors: Charles
Dickens, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Oscar Wilde, Joseph
Conrad, Paulo Coelho, Markus Zusak, Khaled Hosseini, Ian
McEwan, Alice Sebold, Ben Elton, Dan Brown, Nick Hornby,
Marian Keyes, JK Rowling, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen,
CS Lewis, Roald Dahl, to name a few.
most enjoy escapist novels with plenty of drama, a fast
an intriguing plot,
as well as
short stories. I also appreciate sharply written prose
and the use of humour in writing. My favourite books therefore
tend to be crime thrillers, historical fiction, fantasy
and science fiction."
favourite authors: Terry
Pratchett, Joseph Heller, Jonathan Stroud, Alexandre Dumas,
Philip Reeve, L C Tyler, Roald
Dahl, Christopher Fowler, Isaac Asimov, Philip Ardagh and
PR & marketing
I ask for is a good story – believable
characters and an original voice will keep me turning the
pages. Apart from that, I enjoy books across a wide range
of genres, from fantasy to mystery to contemporary novels,
and well-written children's books.
favourite authors: Roald
Dahl, J K Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Agatha Christie,
Celia Ahern, W G Sebald, Italo Calvino,
Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo, P G Wodehouse, Jane
Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Angela Carter
background: literary studies and literary criticism;
passion: "I enjoy
a whole variety of genres – anything with an engrossing
story line, well drawn characters and realistic dialogue.
I like nothing better than to be drawn into a riveting
plot by sharp and stylish writing. If this can be combined
with a setting that is beyond my own experience then
I'm in raptures!"
favourite authors: Harlan
Coben, Douglas Kennedy, Kathy Reichs, Jodi Picoult, Patricia
Cornwell, Sue Grafton, James Patterson, Douglas Coupland,
passion:"Crime! – from
your regular police procedurals to psychological thrillers.
Mostly set in Britain, although I enjoy stories with
American and European settings. Different periods of
history are a favourite too. I like the logic of crime,
but it's always the motivation that fascinates."
favourite authors: Reginald
Hill, Janet Evanovich, Lindsey Davies, Patricia Cornwell,
John Grisham, WJ Burley, Ann Granger, Martin Edwards, Val
McDermid, Dorothy L Sayers, Ruth Rendell, Michael Dibdin,
Barbara Nadel, MC Beaton, Ellis Peters, Michael Jecks,
Peter Lovesey, Martha Grimes, Malcolm Pryce.
background: journalism and teaching
generally a fan of more escapist genres thanks to working
and playing too hard. I like some darkness, action and
fantasy, yet appreciate stories with meaning and weight.
Despite plenty of academic training, I'm not as fond
of the classics as much as I could be, but I definitely
appreciate the finer points of great literature, be it
old or new. I'm most attracted to weaving plotlines featuring
colourful characters struggling against the odds, be
it giant rats, aliens, orcs, oppressive regimes – or
simply the trials of day-to-day life.”
favourite authors: Neil
Gaiman, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, James Herbert, Clive Barker,
Dan Abnett, James Ellroy, Ian Watson, George Orwell, Margaret
Atwood, China Mieville, Nick Hornby, Bill Bridges, Iain
literature – the texts work on so many levels.
Often wrongly dismissed as lacking substance, literature
for children offers many challenges to the investigative
reader. Drama is my other great love."
favourite authors: JM
Barrie, JRR Tolkein, CS Lewis, Frances Hodgson Burnett,
GP Taylor, Daphne Du Maurier, Sebastian Faulks, Roddy Doyle,
background: education, especially the development
Lesley works within the education system. Having taught
children aged 3-11 for a number of years, she has a
keen interest in language and literacy, especially
the way this develops from birth onwards.
can describe myself as nothing other than a fiction tart –anything
goes! Thrillers, historicals, children's fantasy, chick
lit and contemporary literary fiction. I ask for novels
to be exciting; well written with rich language; sometimes
funny, sometimes heart-wrenching; but above all totally
favourite authors: Anita
Shreve, Joanne Harris, Jane Austen, Mary Higgins Clark,
JK Rowling, Dan Brown, Anthony Capella, Philippa Gregory,
Patricia Cornwell, Minette Walters, Neil Griffiths, Gervase
Phinn, Kate Mosse, PJ Tracy, Douglas Kennedy, Alison Penton
Harper, Marian Keyes, Kim Edwards.