David Campbell Callender
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Ruth Finnegan OBE, an anthropologist and multi-award writer ( fiction, nonfiction, screenplays), is EmerItus Professor of the Open University; holder of the Rivers Memorial Medal: Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute if Great Britain and Ireland, of British Academy and of the American Folklore Society; and Honorary Fellow of Somerville College Oxford. Her many academic publications, still continuing, focus on literary issues, communication and music; more recently she has authored prize-winning screenplays and novels, both genres much influenced by her earlier classical studies (above all Homer), and by rhythms and drama of Greek lyric metres and (from her deep embedding in Ireland, land of her birth) by Irish and African story-telling.
She studied classics and anthropology ( top results in each) at the University of Oxford followed by field work and university teaching in Africa, then,
later, in England, US (Austin) and Fiji. She is internationally known as ak sought-after to learned journals and edited interdisciplinary journals, and a conference keynote speaker, and has close friends in many continents.
Born and brought up in Derry and Donegal in Ireland and the product of a Quaker school Ruth loves music and singing, specially baroque and traditional Irish music, nature, and the sound of the sea. Following her mother she has a wild imagination and claims that her novels and multi-award screenplays arise not from deliberate planning but from inspiration born in some inexplicable unexpected way in the liminal magic place of sleep.
Um, sorry, have firgitten how many books I’ve published , maybe 25+ nonfiction, a dozen fiction! Lots prisewinning
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The hidden ordinary.
I am so impressed by the way things that seem just part of everyday life, are in fact extraordinary once we notice them. As anthropologists do when they stop to listen. As poets do when they see the world in a grain of sand. When we see how things that are not normally defined as special, perhaps because studied or practised by \’amateurs\’ rather than \’specialists\’, are often in truth truly special.
PS I just yesterday finished a book inspired by the same thought: The hidden lives of taxi drivers. Coming soon,
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
My fiction books and screenplays all arrive in dreams – in that magical in-between liminal space between sleeping waking when you neither and yet both
I always HEAR my writing – the only way, I believe, to achieve a relaxed informal style that people might actually WANT to read and even enjoy
What authors, or books have influenced you?
For my creative writing – Homer, Blake, Shakespeare and Rumi – and of course Irish and African stiry tellers.
For my academic writing – just about all the works I have read in anthropology and kitrrature
What are you working on now?
A screenplay based on the tragic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice – with a twist which will surprise you. Also, since I find working on two or three things at once brings refreshment through the alteration , “Fire Pearl”, the fourth novel in my Kate-Pearl epic serums, and an academic edited book on – you’ll never guess ( but it’s a secret)
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Circulating monthly to email list
My website http://www.ruthhfinnegan.com
Word of mouth
But none brilliant, hope you can do better