Writing Advice from a Royal Literary Fund Fellow

RLF fellows are professional writers placed in universities throughout the UK to advise students on their academic writing.

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students in any College can make an appointment with either Fellow to talk about their academic writing and editing.

We are privileged to have two RLF Fellows working with us here in LEADS: Brian McCabe and Dilys Rose.

A free, confidential service to help you improve your writing skills

The Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow is a professional, published author whose role is to help you strengthen your writing. 

Sessions are for 50 minutes and take place online on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with Brian McCabe, and Thursdays and Fridays with Dilys Rose, during term-time.

Please note that RLF Writing Fellows do not undertake proofreading or EAP tuition. The service is not suitable for students who require specialised English language help (e.g. TEFL, EAP) who should seek help from the university.

It’s best to visit the Writing Fellow some way ahead of a deadline, so you have time to apply any advice you might receive.

You may see a Writing Fellow as many times as you need, but only make one appointment at a time.


Please note that this service is only available to students currently living in the UK.

Dilys Rose

Alongside my own writing  – fiction, poetry and occasional essays and reviews –  I taught creative writing, and some literature courses, at postgraduate level for nearly twenty years at the Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde and Edinburgh.

I can help with many aspects of writing, including:

  • how to approach an essay/dissertation topic
  • planning and structuring your research and writing
  • time management (life/study and research/writing balance)
  • how to introduce, develop and conclude an argument
  • quotation and referencing
  • expressing yourself clearly and effectively
  • shaping sentences and paragraphs
  • how to tackle a first draft
  • redrafting for sense, style and concision


Please note that my remit doesn’t include proof-reading or copy-editing. 

While it’s easier to advise on what you’ve already written, feel free get in touch if you’re seriously stuck with putting words on the page.

Sessions are one-to-one and confidential and can be booked by e-mail. I am available on Thursdays and Fridays during term-time.   

Brian McCabe

I have published three collections of poetry, the most recent being Zero (Polygon). I have published one novel and five collections of short stories, the most recent being A Date With My Wife (Canongate). My Selected Stories was published by Argyll. I have also taught Creative Writing at the Universities of St. Andrews, Edinburgh and for the last twenty years at Lancaster. I was Royal Literary Fellow at Glasgow University 2010-2012 and 2014-2015, and Editor of Edinburgh Review 2005-2010.

I can help with many aspects of the writing process, including:

  • discussing or framing the question
  • thinking about and forming the argument
  • planning and structuring the essay / dissertation
  • writing for maximum clarity and effect
  • sentence structure, grammar, syntax, punctuation
  • editing
  • referencing, footnotes and bibliography

I’m not here to proofread! But I can also look at marked assignments and feedback to help you make the most of that.

Sessions are one-to-one and confidential and can be booked by e-mail. I am available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (10am-5pm).