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Bringing most of it back home: An interview with Finuala Dowling

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Finuala Dowling. (Photo: Retha Ferguson)
Finuala Dowling. (Photo: Retha Ferguson)

BOOK: The Man Who Loved Crocodile Tamers by Finuala Dowling (Kwela).

Finuala Dowling of Kalk Bay is a writer filling a niche between local favourite and national treasure. Her subtle, empathetic style belies her wide range and exceptional productivity – since her first poetry collection, I, Flying, won the Ingrid Jonker prize in 2002. She has published six novels and four more award-winning selections of verse. Her intimate Insta-poems show her both chronicling the shocks and strangeness of our times and doing her best to change with them. Her latest book, The Man Who Loved Crocodile Tamers (Kwela), is her first major venture into historical fiction and an intriguing example of a family memoir transformed into nigh-on magical realism. Cameron Luke Peters met with her at the Courtyard Cafe in Kalk Bay to find out whether her father really had been engaged for 10 years to one of the world's most beloved circus performers. 

Have you ever written a "meta" book like this before? The bigger story of The Man who Loved Crocodile Tamers is interlaced with the diary of a struggling writer named Dowling. 

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