Interview with Writer Ruth Finnegan

NY Elite: Congratulations on being an ISC finalist. What does it mean for your work to be selected at the International Screenwriting Competition in New York?

“Wow” sums it up. Have only been to NY twice, very briefly, would  love to be invited again.

NY Elite: Can you tell us yourself and your artistic talents?

I was born and brought up in Ireland –  Derry (then, alas, a city of  murderous religious battles) and the more peaceful Donegal –  and attended a peace-loving Quaker school, (overlapping there with the actress Judi Dench), followed by top Oxford degrees in classics and anthropology, then fieldwork and university teaching in Africa, Fiji, Texas and England, all contexts for learning about ideas, about beautiful words,  and, most of all, about people, finally a fulfilling career at Britain’s pioneering Open University. Regular ecumenical church -member

My portfolio of thirteen screenplays (including two produced, two further with offered   options), have all won several awards in international filmfreeway contests. In a more formal context, Ruth Finnegan OBE is Emeritus Professor of the Open University UK, Fellow of the British Academy, International Fellow of the American Folklore Society, and an Honorary Fellow of Somerville  College Oxford. An anthropologist, poet and librettist, she is the author of a wide range of prize-winning academic books   of the multi-award literary novels ‘Black Inked Pearl’ and ‘Voyage of Pearl of the Seas’, and, most recently, screenplays. Currently she is also deeply engaged as co-editor of ‘Hearing Others’ Voices’, an inspiring new series for young adults (Balestier Press).

NY Elite: What scripts have you written so far?

Black Ink Pearl, a mythic tale of love, Betrothed, A Crusades romance, The Red Robe, a tale of the Cardinal’s France, Voyagers of the Fijian Pearl, Kathy, One Moment, one Life, The Fortieth  Thief, No Biscuits in Heaven, Persuasion, The Mountain, “That Demmed Elusive Pimpernel”, Rocker from heaven.

To my surprise I have come to love writing screenplays – or, rather,  in the last five years I have somehow found them  just arriving with me  in a kind of intense dreamlike way. I am constantly  inspired and enlightened  by my background in the history and culture of Ireland, by African story-telling, and by my first degree in the wonderful  literatures of the ancient world.

NY Elite: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?

Screenplays: “Black ink pearl”, and “The mountain”; Production of “No biscuits in heaven”, for which I was the Consulting  producer, so exciting to worked with such a talented and creative team.  Books: “Communicating, The multiple modes of human interaction”.

NY Elite: What type of scripts do you want to write in your career?

The best!

NY Elite: As a writer, what is the most important aspect of building a character?

To be that character, then it just happens (actions and facial expression and gestures and feelings not just words))

NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?

A screenplay about Odysseus, the man of men, as sung by Homer, inspired by my university classical studies. Also more on my Kate-Pearl epic romance novels, currently “Fire-Pearl” (will possibly later adapt as screenplay, it’d be very visually dramatic)

NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?

Yes, in novels and also poetry, a radio play,; oratorio libretto and just daily life. My academic writing also has a creative side with a rhythmic sonic side and its own inspiration and creativity.

Listening to music which I do a lot also has an active creative side

NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking/writing?

Just write write write (any medium and every day), and love the sound and rhythms of words and the sight of action. And get feedback.

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