View profile

Speak the truth

read + write
welcome back.
Today, we have reading recommendations, inspiration, and writing advice from Fatu Ogwuche and Freya Berry. We’ll also hear from Eduardo Suárez, who writes the Reuters Institute Future of Journalism newsletter. Finally, for those who missed it, we’ll share the recording of our first write + chat Twitter Space.
read + recommendations
Each week, a writer will join us to answer some questions about what they like to read.
Our first guest is Fatu Ogwuche. Fatu is a tech writer, art collector, and creator of the weekly newsletter Big Tech This Week
📸 : Ayodeji Rotinwa
📸 : Ayodeji Rotinwa
What’s the thing you read when you want to remember how to write?
Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is the blueprint. I learnt to hone my voice and the confidence to style myself as a writer when I read that book, and I still return to it when I need to recharge my creativity.
You’re at the newsstand and have decided you’re leaving with four magazines. What are you picking up? (from any era, be as oddly specific as possible).
Haha, if you’re Nigerian you’d know two of my options. Hints was my companion throughout secondary school, it was scandalous reading and I loved it! Ovation was the magazine about Nigeria’s glitterati and the lives of the rich and famous, and it was where you went for inspo on the latest asoebi (traditional clothing) styles pre-internet. This era, it would be Architectural Digest and British Vogue.
What’s the thing you read when you need to feel something?
This one’s easy — Beloved Prophet: The Love Letters of Kahlil Gibran and Mary Haskell is one of the greatest books on love, friendship, and ambition. It reminds me of myself when I feel disconnected and it’s a beautiful reminder of what love letters used to be.
What newsletters have you continued to happily subscribe to?
I read mostly tech and business newsletters, and another on Afrobeats because that’s the wave on the continent right now. So, my faves are Communiqué by David Adeleke, Notadeepdive by Olumuyiwa Olowogboyega, Afrobeats Intelligence by Joey Akan, Stratechery by Ben Thompson, and Platformer by Casey Newton. 
What’s the first book you remember reading and loving? 
My curiosity about books started when I was a lot younger because of my Dad’s love for books. I remember picking up Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings from his shelf and I fell in love with it.
What’s the best thing you’ve read this month? 
I’m currently reading Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde. It’s a phenomenal book.
Who’s the Twitter follow that hasn’t let you down since the beginning? 
@asemota. Period.
newsletter time
Every other week, we’ll include an established Revue newsletter. 
Future of Journalism
We asked Eduardo to offer some tips for keeping a newsletter going, in 280 characters or less:
Be as concise as possible: saving your audience time is something they’ll appreciate. Don’t compromise on the quality of your product: ensure your prose is clear and every chart is readable on mobile. Don’t be afraid of experimenting: it’s what keeps it fun for you as well.
write + inspiration
Each week, a writer will join us to answer some questions and give their perspective on writing.
Our second guest is Freya Berry. Freya is an author, previously working as a journalist for Reuters and The Daily Mail. Her work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Independent, and more. Her debut novel, The Dictator’s Wife, was published in February. 
📸: Penelope Mounsey-Heysham
📸: Penelope Mounsey-Heysham
What’s a piece of writing advice that’s held true for you?
Speak the truth. It’s a piece of advice I heard after I’d written the first draft of The Dictator’s Wife. That’s the funny thing about fiction — you’re making up truths, which feels contradictory. For me, a writer’s job is to understand human behaviour. If writing doesn’t have emotional integrity, then the characters’ motives are fundamentally unstable, so people can’t identify with them. And if they don’t identify with the characters, they can’t engage with the story.
What’s the thing you read when you want to remember how to write?
I should probably say that I pick up poetry, or a classic. Sometimes that does work. But really, when I’m feeling lost or wrung-out (whether in writing or in other parts of life!) I’ll go back to the fantasy books I read as a kid. Writers like Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, Jonathan Stroud. They make me fall in love once more with the magic of stories, and that’s when I remember to appreciate this job again. Once I can find the magic, the writing will flow.
I also try to read all the time. A really good book makes me mad — like, how are they doing that?
What’s a writing strategy you’ve developed that’s worked for you?
There are some fairly basic tenets for me, like, I write in the mornings, and I don’t work well from home. There’s an unhelpful stereotype of the tormented writer tearing their hair at their desk — possibly while intoxicated — but in my experience my best work comes when I’m in a sane, relaxed place. So I try to live life outside my writing. Exercise, fresh air, socialising. Then bring that energy to my work. 
That said, if I’m up against a deadline, breakfast burritos can help…
As a writer, how do you stay curious or keep yourself curious?
Controversial — I actually don’t know if I am particularly curious, unless curiosity is the same as the need to mine your own head. It’s the reason I quit journalism: I was less interested in reality than in what I could make reality into.
But I do know that if writing is a struggle, it’s best to treat it like a nervous animal, or maybe a boy you fancy… not paying it any attention, approaching it crabwise. I like doing random things — reading oddly appealing non-fiction books, watching films, going to museums, lying under a tree and thinking about nothing much. Just enjoying life. The best thoughts come when you’re not striving for them, and like most people, I’m most engaged when I’m happy.
How would you describe your relationship with your readers? (especially if it’s evolved) 
As a debut novelist, I’m still getting my head round the fact that my book is out there in the wild. There’s a risk with all the madness around publication that you get caught up in the process and overlook what this is really about — saying something that connects with people. I had a reader who is undergoing cancer treatment. She got in touch to say how The Dictator’s Wife had helped her escape the misery of chemo. That meant more to me than I can say. 
What’s your one tip (that doesn’t get discussed enough) for a writer trying to improve in 2022?
I read somewhere that every writer of prose should really be reading poetry. Then, instead of trying to write prose, you try to write poetically, and your writing is elevated accordingly.
Writing is art. I think if you start with that, then all the more workmanlike elements like plot and backdrop will grow far more organically. 
Each week, in addition to hearing from writers, we’ll also give an update about what we’re doing for readers and writers at Twitter.
Something happened on Wednesday, April 20. We chatted with four newsletter guests for the first episode of our new write + chat Twitter Spaces series. It was good
WRITE + CHAT // Episode 1, catch up

We talked to @emarvelous + @choitotheworld + @danamo + @amandamull. They were great. And we had a surprisingly heated discussion about fonts.

Listen here (Available til May 20) 👇
Just in case you missed it, the recording will be available til May 20, 2022 — hit the link in the Tweet (or find it here) to listen back. We’ll keep you posted on Episode 2, coming soon. 
wrap up
Thanks for joining this week — as always you can reach us, and follow updates on future write + chat Spaces, at @revue.
See you next time,
Did you enjoy this issue? Yes No
Anna from Twitter
Anna from Twitter @revue

A newsletter for readers and writers on Twitter.

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Created with Revue by Twitter.