Five Minutes With...Playwright and author Finegan Kruckemeyer

23 April, 2024

Finegan Kruckemeyer has had 101 commissioned plays performed on six continents and translated into eight languages. He has received 42 awards (at least one each year since 2002) including the 2017 Mickey Miners Lifetime Achievement Award for services to international theatre for young audiences, the 2015 David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Writing for Australian Theatre, and an inaugural Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship.

One of our most celebrated playwrights, he is committed to making strong and respectful work for children, which acknowledges them as astute audience members outside the play, and worthy subjects within.


When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
When I discovered that the written word was something to put out into the world, as well as to be fed by. As a bookish kid living on a quiet hill in rural Ireland, I’d read so happily, and then around nine (my son’s age now – funny), the stories began to flow.

What inspires you?
People I care deeply about, people I’ve never met and never will, small daily wonders, huge global movements, timeless songs (it’s Lisa O’Neill at the moment), nature, novels.

Why did you join the Guild?
For the pleasure of collegiality in the midst of what can be a quiet profession. I do love the solitude of a story invented, but also love the pleasure of a coming together. I love the tenacity of the Guild – the fact it fights for you. And I also love its calm – the fact it is always there for us, steady ground when the business of business feels perilous.

Best moment of your writing career?
The firsts. A bunch of us students bringing to life some terrible words I wrote, a $750 commission which legitimized something I’d be doing for free anyway, a State Theatre season presented to an audience of artists who had long inspired me, a Currency publication sat on a bookshelf, the joy of sitting in an Argentinean theatre and hearing words known rendered pleasingly foreign, some intimidating German film producer types taking me out for a meal and trying to buy an idea, and now – such a lovely full circle – a first novel set to be published in July, and the sharing of a story that I might once upon a time have sat down to read.

Best advice you’ve received about writing?
A clever person called Linda reminded me (mid-twenties and career-driven and a bit much) that the art is one thing, but life is more important. Build a nest, be in love, raise a child, plant a garden (or whatever your version of those things are) – let those pleasures fill your days, and then let the words be a nice accompaniment.

What is your best tip for writers?
Only work with people you like.

What are you working on now?
The End and Everything Before It is the novel launched by the wonderful Text Publishing on 2 July, so I’m doing final tinkering on those pages. I’m also diving into an opera and a chamber work (knowing nothing about either but trusting clever composer friends), and watching a play slowly (oh so slowly) become a film.

What are you currently reading?
Candide by Voltaire, one of the Rebus novels by Ian Rankin, and a comic about an evil penguin with my son.

What are you currently watching?
Shōgun! I read it as a kid and thought it was the greatest adventure novel ever – now Disney has very kindly brought it to life, in a pleasingly patient, unfolding way. And then a few sketches of the genius that is I Think You Should Leave before bed.

Finegan's debut novel The End and Everything Before It will be published on 2 July 2024. You can read more about it here.
Find out more about Finegan and his work here.