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Finuala Dowling

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Johannesburg readings September 2007

I’ll be on the bill at the Arts Alive and St John’s poetry festivals in Johannesburg on the weekend 28-30 September.

The Arts Alive line-up at the Market Theatre will include Mzwakhe Mbuli, Gcina Mhlope, Ishle Yi Park (USA), Samantha Raheem Thornhill (Trinidad), Samm Farai Monro aka Comrade Fatso (Zimbabwe), Linda Gabriel (Malawi), Sticks Mdidimba, Makhosazana Xaba, Mzwakhe Mbuli, Lesego Motsepe, Kgafela Oa Magogodi, Thandeka Vabaza, Mphutlane Wa Bofelo.

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October poetry workshop in Claremont

I will be holding a poetry workshop in Claremont on Saturday 6 October from 16h00-17h30. Cost is R80. If you would like to attend, contact me: » read more

September poetry workshop — Kalk Bay

My September poetry workshop will take place on Saturday 22 September from 16h00-17h30 at The Forge in Windsor Rd. Cost is R80. If you would like to attend, contact me:

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Time for a National Register of Artist-Starving Institutions

The following anecdote may demonstrate more forcefully why I am wondering whether perhaps the moment has come for the individuals and profit-making institutions who demand our services for free (or laughable payment), to be publicly named and shamed. (See previous post for introduction of this subject.) What about a national register of those offenders who are bent on starving poets and writers to death?

Two weeks ago I was asked to give a speech at an institution. Growing wise at last to the exploitation of my verbal ability, I replied that I would do so for a modest fee of R300. My correspondent said she would check this amount with her boss. She soon wrote back to say that it had been found acceptable. I was surprised when the man contacted me personally, as I thought all the details of the event had been sorted out and, frankly, for R300 I didn’t want to have to spend any more time fussing about it.

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“Cape Cooler” — comic skits at the Olive St.

Really funny new skits about safety and security, chatty shop assistants, enterprising bergies, militant kitchen personnel and completely unhelpful banking staff.

The show makes you laugh at all those irritating service providers who say things like “enjoy your day further”.

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Welcome to Finuala’s Blog; Anyone for Nutties?

Finuala DowlingWelcome to my weblog, which will chart the darkly humorous reflections and picaresque adventures of a freelance poet.

There is an insidious belief among the commercial classes that artists don’t need to be paid. “We would love you to come and give a talk/ speech/ workshop/ reading,” is a request that all too frequently interrupts my working hours, quickly followed by the cynical caveat: “Of course we can’t afford to pay you much/anything, but it will be good publicity for you.”

For over a decade I have managed to support my writing endeavours with a grueling regime of teaching and textbook writing. Like many writers, I provide my own arts subsidy. Poems, plays, novels and short stories have been paid for by working overtime on non-creative tasks, squeezed into the hours other people reserve for holidays, friends and those mythical things called “weekends”.

But this year, a huge textbook writing contract was pulled from me and I thought that, instead of soliciting other work, I’d put my money on my own talent. The gamble has failed and I have been forced to borrow money from my daughter’s educational future in order to pay the bills.

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