Finuala Dowling

Agent: Isobel Dixon

Biography: Finuala Dowling’s first poetry collection, I FLYING, won South Africa’s prestigious Ingrid Jonker Prize.  Her second collection, DOO-WOP GIRLS OF THE UNIVERSE was joint winner of the Sanlam Prize for poetry, and her third, NOTES FROM THE DEMENTIA WARD, won the Olive Schreiner Prize. Her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in several anthologies. She has also written plays and won the Spier/PANSA Audience Award.  She is a brilliant performer and has read at the Aldeburgh Festival in the UK and at all South Africa’s major literary festivals.

Her first novel was WHAT POETS NEED, followed by FLYLEAF. HOME-MAKING FOR THE DOWN-AT-HEART won the M-Net Prize 2012 and was shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg Prize in the same year. Her novel THE FETCH won the 2016 Herman Charles Bosman prize for English fiction.

She has an M.A. from the University of Cape Town and a D.Litt. et Phil. from the University of South Africa. Formerly an English lecturer, she is now a full-time writer and freelance poetry teacher. She lives in Kalk Bay, Cape Town, with her daughter.

Finuala Dowling on Poetry International

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 PRETEND YOU DON'T KNOW ME  Poetry Collection, 136 pages  Bloodaxe Books (UK) Sept 2018  PRETEND YOU DON’T KNOW ME brings together in one volume the best of Finuala Dowling’s funny, poignant and idiosyncratic poetry from four earlier prize-winning collections, with a section devoted to new poems.      Pretend You Don’t Know Me contains her iconic poem ‘To the doctor who treated the raped baby and who felt such despair’ as well as Dowling’s tragi-comic cycle of poems on the theme of her mother’s dementia, and the hugely popular poems ‘Butter’, ‘I am the Zebra’, ‘To adventurers, as far as I’m concerned’ and ‘The abuse of cauliflowers’.  At the heart of the book are the funny and poignant connections we make with other people, and the lifelong effort to stay whole.    

PRETEND YOU DON'T KNOW ME

Poetry Collection, 136 pages

Bloodaxe Books (UK) Sept 2018

PRETEND YOU DON’T KNOW ME brings together in one volume the best of Finuala Dowling’s funny, poignant and idiosyncratic poetry from four earlier prize-winning collections, with a section devoted to new poems. 

 

Pretend You Don’t Know Me contains her iconic poem ‘To the doctor who treated the raped baby and who felt such despair’ as well as Dowling’s tragi-comic cycle of poems on the theme of her mother’s dementia, and the hugely popular poems ‘Butter’, ‘I am the Zebra’, ‘To adventurers, as far as I’m concerned’ and ‘The abuse of cauliflowers’.  At the heart of the book are the funny and poignant connections we make with other people, and the lifelong effort to stay whole. 

 

 THE FETCH   Novel, 308 pages  Kwela Books (SA) - May 2015  The coastal settlement of Slangkop, near Cape Town, comes alive over weekends when mercurial Chas Fawkes holds court at Midden House. Invited to one of his legendary parties, shy, plump librarian Nina Browne is smitten and becomes first his secretary, then his lover. But things are not as they seem on the glittering surface, as Nina in turn is loved and watched over by Chas’s childhood playmate, the hermit-like environmentalist William.      When Chas’s estranged alcoholic wife Dolly briefly returns, she steals William’s savings and leaves behind a different treasure – her baby son, Oro.  In a gentler, more innocent way than Chas, young Oro is a catalyst in the Slangkop community. William is forced out of his seclusion and proves a surprisingly good stand-in dad.      William is still desperate to win Nina’s heart, but how, when she is so caught up in Chas’s slipstream? As the inhabitants of this eccentric seaside community orbit around Chas and his increasingly desperate crises, sex raises questions that love must help them answer.   

THE FETCH 

Novel, 308 pages
Kwela Books (SA) - May 2015

The coastal settlement of Slangkop, near Cape Town, comes alive over weekends when mercurial Chas Fawkes holds court at Midden House. Invited to one of his legendary parties, shy, plump librarian Nina Browne is smitten and becomes first his secretary, then his lover. But things are not as they seem on the glittering surface, as Nina in turn is loved and watched over by Chas’s childhood playmate, the hermit-like environmentalist William. 

 

When Chas’s estranged alcoholic wife Dolly briefly returns, she steals William’s savings and leaves behind a different treasure – her baby son, Oro.  In a gentler, more innocent way than Chas, young Oro is a catalyst in the Slangkop community. William is forced out of his seclusion and proves a surprisingly good stand-in dad. 

 

William is still desperate to win Nina’s heart, but how, when she is so caught up in Chas’s slipstream? As the inhabitants of this eccentric seaside community orbit around Chas and his increasingly desperate crises, sex raises questions that love must help them answer.

 

 HOMEMAKING
FOR THE DOWN-AT-HEART  Novel, 256 pages  Kwela Books (SA) - May 2011  Margot is a late-night talk radio host - the
perfect job for an outspoken insomniac. Her Kalk Bay home is crowded with
wonderfully evocative characters such as her teenage daughter, Pia, her hopelessly
romantic yet mostly absent lover Curtis, and the family hanger-on, Mr Morland,
a professional psychic.

    

HOMEMAKING FOR THE DOWN-AT-HEART

Novel, 256 pages
Kwela Books (SA) - May 2011

Margot is a late-night talk radio host - the perfect job for an outspoken insomniac. Her Kalk Bay home is crowded with wonderfully evocative characters such as her teenage daughter, Pia, her hopelessly romantic yet mostly absent lover Curtis, and the family hanger-on, Mr Morland, a professional psychic.  

 

 DOO-WOP GIRLS OF THE UNIVERSE  Poetry collection, 80 pages Penguin Books SA, January 2006  A very up-beat collection of contemporary poems. One of a kind. 

DOO-WOP GIRLS OF THE UNIVERSE

Poetry collection, 80 pages
Penguin Books SA, January 2006

A very up-beat collection of contemporary poems. One of a kind.