A Victorian typewriter on a wooden desk, next to a small stack of paper. Photo by Kristina Tamašauskaitė on Unsplash

Dark Angels Note 144

Dearest Friends

Welcome back to our weekly Friday Note.



Yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of Bram Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912).

Though best known for his gothic horror novel Dracula, this Irish author started his literary career working for free as a drama critic and his first book was a handbook in legal administration.

The real-life inspiration for his enduring gothic classic is often attributed to the Walachian ruler Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Drăculea) and Bran Castle in Translyvania interwoven with local myths.

In a review of Dracula, the Manchester Guardian on 15 June 1897 (via Bram Stoker Estate) wrote “The plot is too complicated for reproduction, but it says no little for the author’s powers that in spite of its absurdities the reader can follow the story with interest to the end. It is, however, an artistic mistake to fill a whole volume with horrors.”

The book has never been out of print and went on to inspire many films and TV adaptations, some 272 iterations according to Screen Rant.



Despite deriving from folklore, Stoker wanted to make the story believable. It took him seven years to painstakingly write Dracula, “In the end, he wondered if the book would even be remembered.”

Find out about the origins of Dracula in this excerpt from Something in the Blood, Bram Stoker’s biography by David J. Skal, on The Paris Review.



Think about a folklore, fairytale or myth that has stuck with you. Consider the essence of the story and why that has enduring appeal.

Can you write your own version? What details can you include that are grounded in real life that would make it more believable?



There are copies still available of the first edition of ‘Dark Angels: Three Contemporary Poets — Book One’.

The book is available to buy direct from Paekakariki Press.


Keep sending us your poems, writings, links and writerly whatnots that you’d like to share with the wider Dark Angels family.





Starter Day, 17 May 2023

This one-day course in central London will introduce you to some of the core ideas and practices that underpin the Dark Angels approach to writing – whether that’s writing for work or for your own creative expression.

Find out more here.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings

Join us for a reflective 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.


Hearts, Inspired, 16-21 June 2023

Join us for a 5-day writing retreat on Whidbey Island, in the US Pacific Northwest. We’ll explore writing, creativity and inspiration through guided writing, personal projects and time in nature.

Find out more here.


Words Are Seeds, 19-23 June 2023

Five days of writing, rituals and nature connection at Bore Place over the summer solstice. We’re expecting a lively, stimulating and playful experience, with plenty of time for individual pondering, wondering and wandering – and writing.

Find out more here.


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

From everyone at Dark Angels



Photo by Kristina Tamašauskaitė on Unsplash