Finuala Dowling

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Finuala Dowling (born 1962) [1]. Poet, educational materials developer, writer and lecturer performer, producer and playwright.


Born in Cape Town she was the seventh of eight children of radio broadcasters Eve van der Byl and Paddy Dowling. She was married to Guy Willoughby.



She studied at UCT and then, after obtaining her MA in English, moved to Pretoria, where she completed a doctorate at Unisa (1993).


She spent eight years teaching English at Unisa (1989-1995).

After her divorce she returned to her hometown of Kalk Bay, where she began to work as a freelance educational materials developer, writer and lecturer. Starting with a few short stories published in local and international anthologies, she and her sisters, Cara Dowling and Tessa Dowling formed a theatre company called Dowling Sisters Productions, presenting regular music and reading events, as well as cabaret performances at the Olive Station in Muizenberg. She had her first taste of popular success there with a series of comic skits entitled Cape Cool. At this time she began publishing her award-winning poetry, for which she has become internationally famous, also for her dramatic readings of her own work.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

In 2002 her stage comedy Bungee Writing Finals won the Audience Vote at the PANSA Reading of New Writing Festival and went on to a full production at Spier, and in 2008 a new play Not-a-hundred-and-four (or Not 104 as the poster has it), was produced by the Milnerton Players.

Awards, etc

She was awarded the Olive Schreiner Prize for her poetry in 2010.


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