The Royal Literary Fund (RLF) is a British charity, founded in 1790, for the promotion and support of writers of high literary merit. Among its beneficiaries have been leading literary figures, including Leigh Hunt, Joseph Conrad, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Ivy Compton-Burnett and Mervyn Peake. In recent decades, the RLF has benefited from the literary estates of historically important writers, including Somerset Maugham and A.A. Milne.
Since 1999, the RLF has devised and expanded a Fellowship scheme, whereby established professional writers of literary merit and appropriate aptitude, are recruited as RLF Fellows, tutoring higher education students in enhancing their writing practices. By 2014, more than 300 writers had held Fellowship posts at some 120 different UK higher education institutions, working variously across almost the full range of disciplines within the arts, humanities, social sciences, sciences and engineering. The Fellowship scheme has been a notable success, with many thousands of students documenting the impact of RLF tutoring in enhancing the power, precision and creativity of their writing.
In 2013–2014, as one of several initiatives building on the success of the Fellowship scheme, the RLF launched the Consultant Fellowship programme, whereby Fellows with appropriate experience and aptitude were invited to train to a high standard to facilitate group activities in universities. The first cohort of twenty Consultant Fellows (CFs), including those with many years’ experience of group facilitation, was placed on the Consultant Fellowship register in the Summer of 2014. With more trained in 2015 and 2016, there are now 33 CFs on the register. The scheme promotes high standards of professional and ethical practice, while encouraging Consultant Fellows to operate as independent practitioners.