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Monday 16 September 2019

'Throw cash in the air: don't take it to the crematorium'


Award-winning fiction writer June Caldwell
Award-winning fiction writer June Caldwell

June Caldwell is an award-winning fiction writer. She is author of Room Little Darker, an acclaimed collection of short stories. Her first novel, Little Town Moore, is due out in 2020.

What's the most important lesson about money your career as a writer has taught you?

Not to be a writer. Writers don't make money, as in it is so nominal as to be equivalent or less than the dole, and that would be for a 'successful' writer. Book deals are usually tiny and the 'big' deals splashed all over the papers are so rare - that's why they're splashed all over the papers. On the other hand, I could be working in a menial office job yacking on constantly about how I'll get to my art one day and never actually manage it.

What's the most expensive place you ever visited?


What's the best advice you ever got about money?

Throw it in the air, don't take it to the crematorium with you.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

A second-hand car.

What was your worst job?

My worst job was also my best job in a way: a claims assessor in a pet insurance company in London back in the late 1980s. As the gobshite immigrant, they thought it'd be a good idea to put my signature on all the rejected claims, so my days were spent taking angry phone calls, which taught me a lot about diplomacy.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Selling up my Smithfield apartment and moving to Belfast in 2006, for little or no reason.

What was your best financial killing?

Selling a StarBar to someone in primary school for twice the newsagent's price, a first bite of capitalism.

Are you better off than your parents?

Are you kidding? Way worse off.

If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?

I spent the best two days of my life recently at the Wicklow Head Lighthouse. If I bagged ridiculous money I'd try my best to persuade The Landmark Trust to sell me the lighthouse at a highly inflated mutually-beneficial price, then I'd hire a zany person to install an escalator up through the middle of it that looked very like the current authentic iron one that kills your legs, and I'd shut the door on the world and say 'cheerio, take it easy'.

If you could design your own euro note, what image would you put on it?

Prolific [Irish] women writers from the 18/19th centuries that were conveniently forgotten and never included on the curriculum (refer to The Long Gaze Back for suggestions).

iTunes or Spotify?


What was the last thing you bought online?

A pair of leather leopard-skin ankle boots that didn't fit on arrival.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?


Would you buy property now?

Of course not. I'd wait for the next crash circa 2022. And I'd buy outside of Dublin, it's gone rough as nuts and you'd need a horse's head for looking over your own shoulder all the time.

Do you ever haggle?

Never. I have such low confidence myself I'm not about to tell someone they're worth less than they're pegging their wares for. I've even been known to offer more.

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

Red wine. Cat food. Silver jewellery.

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