Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow

About this service

This is a free, confidential service to help you improve your writing skills. Students of any discipline, at any level of study (from undergraduate to postgraduate) – and staff – are welcome to book a session.  

The Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow is a professional, published author whose role is to help you strengthen your writing. At the University of Hull we are lucky to have Cliff Forshaw, an experienced writer, poet and painter. 

A one-to-one tutorial can help you:

  • Plan your study time.  

  • Focus your reading for essay, dissertation or thesis writing. 

  • Express your ideas more clearly. 

  • Answer grammar and punctuation questions. 

  • Discover reading to improve your writing and editing skills.

  • Increase your writing skills with the aim of improving your grades.

  • Improve any academic writing – essays, reports, theses, dissertations, book chapters.  

Sessions are for 50 minutes and take place online

Book an appointment

Contact Cliff to book an appointment

RLF Writing Fellow appointments currently take place online via Whereby (web conferencing software). When you book an appointment, you will receive instructions on how to connect. You do not have to download anything, install apps or set up an account. 

Work you wish to be discussed can also be emailed to Cliff ahead of the appointment. 


English for academic purposes (EAP)

The RLF service is intended to help native (or near-native) speakers of English improve their essay-writing skills. It is not suitable for speakers of English as a second language, unless they are already highly proficient in the language.

About Cliff Forshaw

Cliff Forshaw is a poet and painter whose work engages with themes of place, nature, history and myth, and often features creative translation with ‘cover versions’ playing variations on Dante, Rimbaud, Lorca or Rilke.

Trans (Collective Press, 2005) culminates with an updating of Ovid’s Metamorphoses; Vandemonian (Arc, 2013) focuses on Van Diemen’s Land and its inhabitants – human and animal, newcomer and Aborigine – to piece together a fragmentary history of Tasmania; Pilgrim Tongues (Wrecking Ball, 2015) travels from Hull to Vietnam and back, by way of Israel, Transylvania, California and Cambodia. In Satyr (Shoestring, 2017) an Elizabethan malcontent, Satyrist, channelled through Cliff’s poems, drawings and paintings, returns from the dead to appraise the contemporary world.

Cliff studied painting at art college before developing an interest in languages and literatures. After working in Spain, Mexico, Germany and New York, and freelance writing in London, he completed a doctorate on Renaissance literature at Oxford. He taught at Bangor, Sheffield and was senior lecturer in English at Hull University, and prosody consultant for the OED. He has been writer in residence in France, Romania, Tasmania, Kyrgyzstan, a Djerrassi resident artist in California, twice a Hawthornden writing fellow, and winner of the Welsh Academi John Tripp award. In 2016 he appeared at the International Poetry Festival of Granada, Nicaragua.

He has collaborated with writers, visual artists and musicians to produce illustrated anthologies and exhibitions and made three short films: Drift (Humber Mouth Literature Festival, 2008); Under Travelling Skies, (Larkin25 award, 2012); and Slipway (Beverley Literature Festival, 2013).

Cliff was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at York University 2019/20.

What students say…  

“…my marks have gone up considerably. I have gone from an average of 58 to 72 this year, I cannot thank you enough.” 

- Undergraduate

“I can't explain how helpful it was, not only for cutting words but for my own mental state!” 

- Undergraduate

“I just want you to know how much I appreciate all the help you’ve given me over the past year. I genuinely feel like my writing has improved so much which I think is rare for a lot of people this late on. It has really helped having someone outside of the course to talk through my ideas…”

- Postgraduate 

Frequently asked questions

Appointment format

Appointments are delivered online via Whereby. You can expect:

  • A one-to-one consultation, lasting 50 minutes

  • Advice unique to your specific requirement 

  • Completely confidential support 

You will be given opportunity to email work in before your appointment to allow the Fellow to prepare.

What your session might cover
  • Structure and punctuation 

  • Writing with clarity 

  • Rewriting and editing 

  • Planning and time management

  • Tackling the word count 

  • Critical thinking, paraphrasing and referencing 


What NOT to expect from an appointment

RLF Writing Fellows do not undertake proofreading or EAP tuition. 

Questions? Problems with your internet connection or worried about the software? Contact Cliff at: