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About Ruth H. Finnegan
Hullo and thank you for taking an interest in me and my works, you are so welcome.
You can see some information about me below including about my life beyond books - like you I’m a person as well a writer and reader you know! - at
Do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org/ with any, um, extreme laudatory comments (well, one can always hope!), questions, and (always important for writers) criticisms and ideas for improvements: I can always say if I disagree ...
In the meantime and until we (e)meet again, keep well, keep safe
Ruth, in code-breakers-Bletchley, England, May 2020
I’d better get rid of the official stuff first (do skip!)
MULTI-AWARD WINNING AUTHOR, romance fiction and nonfiction
Finalist 50 Great Writers you should be reading (AuthorsShow) 2017
RIVERS MEMORIAL MEDAL, Royal Anthropological Institute 2016
recent awards and commendations (man
BLACK INKED PEARL (novel) Literary Titan SILVER AWARD 2017
PEARL OF THE SEAS (romance novel) Hungry Monster SILVER AWARD 2016
KIRKUS one of best 25 Reviews of 2017
Book excellence WINNER (friendship)
ENTRANCEMENT (ed) Readers Favorite FINALIST (friendship)
BLACK INK PEARL (screenplay) Capital fund Screen Contest GENRE WINNER
I am an Emeritus Professor, The Open University, OBE, Fellow of the British Academy and Hon. Fellow Somerville College Oxford, among other things I am the author of MULTIPLE AWARD-
Of my Black Inked Pearl "BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ" (unsolicited amazon review)
Of my 'Pearl of the Seas' - "EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS " Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.
I was born (1933 - hope you like my birthday photo ... );and reared in Ulster and Donegal in a family committed to reconciling the deep divides in Ulster and in the world, went to a Quaker school in York, followed by a first-class Oxford degree in classics/philosophy. Then it was African fieldwork, an Oxford doctorate in literary anthropology, university teaching in Africa, then many years ( with a short period in Fiji), with the pioneering Open University (UK) where I am now, most happily, an honorary research professor. I live in Bletchley in south-central England with my husband of 50 years and two dogs (alas not so long-lived) and have three wonderful daughters and five grandchildren, one in New Zealand. And I still love writing.
I have published well over twenty (lost count) academic books with leading publishers (university presses et al.), primarily in literary and linguistic anthropology, music ethnography, and cultural history, and have a continuing interest in modes of communication (multi-sensory) and their practical role in the human worlds of the past, present and future.
My most recent publications are second editions of 'Communicating' (2014) and of the now widely-available 'Oral literature in Africa' (2012), the new 'Where is language?' (2017), ‘Time for the world to learn from Africa’ (2019) and ‘The hidden irdunary’ ( 2020); other monographs in preparation.
My contribution to anthropology over the last five years has been recognised by the award of the 2016 Rivers Memorial Medal by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, a great honour.
The most surprising (to me) publications, because rooted in unexpected dreams are my Homeric and African shaped romance novels of my new Kate-Pearl epic series ( the first, 'Black Inked Pearl' has, together with the others, won multiple stars and prizes - I wonder if you’d agree?). Am amazed!
I am currently preparing an audio version of the novel and have just published a much-praised version for 10-12 year old readers ( 'Pearl of the Seas' - with rave reviews).
See the video trailers by the brilliant Castelane at
Updates on www.ruthhfinnegan.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Ruth-Finnegan-lauthor-506850842807556/
Author Page: http://garnpress.com/authors/ruth-finnegan/
Family-founded indie publihser's page: www.callenderpress.co.uk
Video Trailers: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPnQyPTu6I0EK0gW61wiEXKjRrLBYLKmL
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This revised edition makes Finnegan’s ground-breaking research available to the next generation of scholars. It includes a new introduction, additional images and an updated bibliography, as well as its original chapters on poetry, prose, "drum language” and drama, and an overview of the social, linguistic and historical background of oral literature in Africa.
This volume is complemented by original recordings of stories and songs from the Limba country (Sierra Leone), collected by Finnegan during her fieldwork in the late 1960s, which are freely accessible here.
The book is available as a free pdf and ebook download thanks to the generous support of interested readers and organisations, who made donations using the crowd-funding website unglue.it.
Oral Literature in Africa is part of our World Oral Literature Series in conjunction with the World Oral Literature Project.
An award-winning unput-downable tale of two children building a boat from a log they find buried in the sand and sailing off to far-off fantastic lands in a stormy sea-driven adventure with their faithful - but accident-prone - dog Holly. There they learn much wisdom from a king who, like God, has many names'. After an incredible sacrifice of his dearest dream by the boy (now growing up) they return - another dream - to a family tea with their loved ones. The tale is a prequel and companion to Ruth Finnegan's award-winning epic romance 'Black inked pearl', here adapted for preteens but characterised by (in a simpler form) the same unique dream-like and enchanted style as in the original novel.
A landmark in the study of music and culture, this acclaimed volume documents the remarkable scope of amateur music-making in the English town of Milton Keynes. It presents in vivid detail the contrasting yet overlapping worlds of classical orchestras, church choirs, brass bands, amateur operatic societies, and amateur bands playing jazz, rock, folk, and country. Notable for its contribution to wider theoretical debates and its influential challenge to long-held assumptions about music and how to study it, the book focuses on the practices rather than the texts or theory of music, rejecting the idea that only selected musical traditions, "great names," or professional musicians are worth studying. This opens the door to the invisible work put in by thousands of local people of diverse backgrounds, and how the pathways creatively trodden by amateur musicians have something to tell us about both urban living and what it is to be human. Now with a new preface by the author, this long-awaited reissue of The Hidden Musicians will bring its insights and innovations to a new generation of students and scholars.
The novel itself is interspersed with poems, and now, the poems have been compiled into one collection: Kate’s Black Ink Poems. Read separately or in conjunction with Black Inked Pearl. Each chosen poem compellingly shows us the torments, delight, and travails of love as Kate suffers through them—but as we, too, experience the highs and lows of passion.
Many of the poems included here function as significant turning points in the novel. They each speak volumes in regards to Kate’s plight but also the plight of all those who battle for true love and feel the sting of loss. We all seek love, the sweetest thing, but the path...
Searching for him she visits the kingdom of beasts, a London restaurant, an old people's home, back to the misty Donegal Sea, the heavenly archives, Eden, and hell, where at agonising cost she saves her dying love. They walk together toward heaven, but at the gates he walks past leaving her behind in the dust. The gates close behind him. He in turn searches for her and at last finds her in the dust, but to his fury (and renewed hurt) he is not ecstatically recognised and thanked. And the gates are still shut.
On a secret back way to heaven guided by a little beetle, Kate repeatedly saves her still scornful love, but at the very last, despite Kate's fatal inability with numbers and through an ultimate sacrifice, he saves her from the precipice and they reach heaven. Kate finally realises that although her quest for her love was not vain, in the end she had to find herself – the unexpected pearl.
The novel, born in dreams, is interlaced with the ambiguity between this world and another, and increasingly becomes more poetic, riddling and dreamlike as the story unfolds. The epilogue alludes to the key themes of the novel – the eternity of love and the ambiguity between dream and reality.
Many accounts of human communication suggest that we are limited to communicating through words, visual images, the mass media and by digital means. This perspective underestimates the multisensory qualities of much of our human interconnecting and the multiple sounds, touches, sights and material objects which humans use so creatively to interconnect both nearby and across space and time.
Ruth Finnegan brings together research from linguistic and sensory anthropology, alternative approaches to 'material culture' and 'the body', non-verbal communication, cultural studies, computer-mediated communication, and illuminating work on animal communication. Examples from both western and non-western cultures together with plentiful illustrations enrich and deepen the analysis.
The book uncovers the amazing array of sounds, sights, smells, gestures, looks, movements, touches and material objects which humans use so creatively to interconnect both nearby and across space and time - resources consistently underestimated in those western ideologies that prioritise 'rationality' and referential language.
Focussing on embodied and material processes, and on practice rather than text, this comparative analysis challenges the underlying cognitive and word-centred model common to many approaches to communication.
The second edition of Communicating includes a new introduction, updates to take account of recent work, an additional chapter covering ethereal non-verbal non-bodily communicating such as telepathy and dreams, fresh illustrations, a new conclusion and updated bibliography.
This authoritative but accessible book is an essential transdisciplinary overview for researchers and advanced students in language and communication, anthropology and cultural studies.
Designed as a practical and systematic introduction to the processes and problems of researching in this area, this is an invaluable guide for students, and lecturers of anthropology and cultural studies and also for general readers who are interested in enjoying oral literature for its own sake.