Dark Angels Note 96

Dearest Friends,

Please say hello to the extremely talented writer, Francesca Tenenbaum. On the verge of an exciting new project, we nabbed her at just the right time.


1. Tell us about something you’re working on right now. 

Hello, I’m Francesca, and I’m the (outgoing) Head of Words at Here, a small branding studio in East London. I’m lucky to be collaborating on a book called Nature Morte: The Art of the Pandemic. I can’t go into the specifics, yet, but it’s the idea of two very talented people and I’m genuinely honoured that they’ve asked me to provide the words.


2. Can you recommend something for us to read?

I think I’ve given almost everyone I know a copy of The Fran Lebowitz Reader. It’s my eternal reading recommendation. The words “he was audibly tan” have been imprinted on my brain ever since I first read it 10-ish years ago. They describe an agent based in Hollywood, ringing Fran at her home in Manhattan. What a description. Beyond that marvellous one liner, TFLR is a collection of essays from her two books Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, published when she worked at Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. In them, she shares her opinions on everything from “Modern Sports” to the use of the word ‘lady’.


3. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever read or received?  

I’d like to share two!

1) The advice I strive to follow:
“You want to write sentences as clean as a bone.”
– James Baldwin

2) The advice that has proved most helpful in my professional life:
“I like it” / “I don’t like it” does not constitute creative feedback. Don’t give it, and certainly don’t accept it.


4. Share one thing you do when you get stuck.

Become extremely forlorn, extremely quickly, then have a snack, and come back to the problem with only an A3 pad and a pink felt tip pen. I write down what I understand the brief to be in my own words, and avoid any screens or source material until I have found a way into the creative problem.


5. What’s your desert island book and why? 

The Divine Comedy, all three parts if that’s not cheating. And (this part is almost certainly cheating) volumes in both Italian and in English, the latter by one particular translator, Steve Ellis. His is the most visceral translation I have ever read.


Thank you Francesca. Love and luck with the new writing project. And reassuring to know there are fellow pink marker swooshers out there!



A Message from Lucy
Fellow Dark Angel, Lucy Beevor, is snapping on her swimming goggles to swim 4kms for Fighting Words – a fantastic Belfast charity that provides free creative writing opportunities for schools and young writers ages 6-18. The goal is to give more kids the rare and precious space to explore their own creativity. You can help by sponsoring Lucy and her marathon running teammates here. Thank you 🤗.


Online Advanced Course
Still a couple of spaces left on this brilliant online course with Jamie Jauncey & Richard Pelletier. They’ll guide you through exercises that build on the Foundation Course and bring a greater focus on developing your personal writing voice.

A mix of live online sessions, fast-paced writing exercises, and time spent on your own, we’ll help you find surprising new ways to explore language, as we draw on storytelling, business communications, fiction and poetry.
The Details
Two-hour sessions, twice a week, for one month.
Dates: each Monday & Thursday, May 2 – 26
UK 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm
US East Coast  12.30 pm – 2.30 pm
US West Coast 9.30 am – 11.30 am

Fee: £795 / E895 / $1095
Full course details are on the website. Contact Susanne to book your place.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings
Join us for a lovely hour of reading, writing and communing led by Neil Baker. Everyone is welcome; in fact invite a friend along. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on. 

Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here.. 

From everyone at Dark Angels


Also published on Medium.