Improve your writing with advice from the Royal Literary Fund

Hilary Davies and Jennifer Potter

Would you like to develop and improve your writing? Two professional writers are available in the Humanities Floor 1 Reading Room to offer bespoke advice. This service is free to anyone with a Reader Pass but you need to book in advance.

Published date:

In a new partnership between the British Library and the Royal Literary Fund (RLF), two RLF Writing Fellows are available in the Humanities Floor 1 Reading Room. They are each at the British Library one day a week for bespoke one-to-one consultations with anyone holding a Reader Pass. This service is free to Readers. 

The Fellows are poet, essayist and translator, Hilary Davies and Jennifer Potter, novelist, biographer and author of social, cultural and botanical histories.

Launched in 1999, the RLF Fellowship scheme was set up originally to place established writers in universities and colleges throughout Britain with the aim of fostering good writing practice across all disciplines and media. This is the first time the scheme is being extended to the British Library.

Whatever you’re writing – whether fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose, biography or memoir, an academic thesis or something more personal – as long as you hold a British Library Reader Pass, you are welcome to approach the Fellows for advice on any aspect of your writing craft.

To book a 50-minute consultation with one of the Fellows please email

Jennifer Potter is at the Library on Wednesdays and Hilary Davies on Thursdays.

The Fellows will want to know the nature of your enquiry and may ask you to send a short sample of your writing before you meet. The sessions are advisory in nature, designed to help you develop your writing and editing skills. Don't expect the Fellows to proofread or copy-edit your work.

Jennifer Potter

Jennifer Potter has published ten books: four novels, a biography, two books about gardens, and works of social, cultural and botanical history. Her most recent book, The Jamestown Brides, tells the true story of young English women shipped to Virginia and sold as wives to the planters. A long-time reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement, she has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow, a Hawthornden Fellow, an Honorary Teaching Fellow on the Warwick Writing Programme, and currently runs writing workshops at British universities as an RLF Consultant Fellow.

Hilary Davies

Hilary Davies has published four collections of poetry published by Enitharmon: the latest, Exile and the Kingdom, was published in November 2016. She is also a translator, essayist and critic. Hilary has won an Eric Gregory award, and been a Hawthornden Fellow and Chairman of the Poetry Society. She was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at King’s College, London, 2012-6 and is a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement, PN Review and The Tablet.  She is a Fellow of the English Association and for many years was Head of Languages at St. Paul’s Girls’ School in London.