Duncan Sarkies is a playwright, screen writer, fiction writer and stand-up comic. He is best known as the co-writer, with his brother Robert Sarkies, of the hugely successful 1999 film Scarfies. Sarkies has won several theatre and playwright awards and his collection of dark and funny short stories, Stray Thoughts and Nose Bleeds, won the Hubert Church NZSA Best First Book of Fiction Award, now part of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. He has been a script writer for Flight of the Conchords, and published his first novel, Two Little Boys, in 2008. Sarkies' novel, Demolition of the Century (Penguin NZ), was published in 2013.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarkies, Duncan (1970 - ) is a playwright, screen writer, fiction writer and stand-up comic. The rhythm and energy of performance is an important aspect of his written work. He is best known as a co-writer, along with his brother Robert Sarkies, of the hugely successful 1999 film Scarfies and 2012 film Two Little Boys.
Scarfies was shown at numerous international film festivals including Cannes and Sundance, and on its release in New Zealand quickly became one of the country's best-grossing local films.
Sarkies' plays are 'The Ceramic Camel' (1993), 'Lovepuke' (1993), 'Saving Grace' (1994), 'Snooze' (1997), 'Twelve' (1997), 'Blue Vein' (1997), 'Special' (1997), and 'Bystander' (1998). 'Lovepuke' was published in Eleven Young Playwrights (1994). In 1994 he was awarded the Sunday Star Times Bruce Mason Playwriting Award, and in 1995 Saving Grace won the Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Best New Zealand Play (now Wellington Theatre Award). Sarkies adapted Saving Grace into a film, released in 1997.
Sarkies was awarded the 1998 Louis Johnson New Writers Bursary. His first book was Stray Thoughts and Nosebleeds (Victoria Univeristy Press,1999), a collection of prose pieces, only some of which fit the description of 'short stories'. Others more closely resemble scripts for a stand up comedy routine. All are characterised by an eccentric black humour, bizarre and poignant by turns, which can leave the reader (or audience) wondering whether the author is laughing with them or at them.
Stray Thoughts and Nosebleeds won the Hubert Church NZSA Best First Book of Fiction Award at the 2000 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, now known as the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
As Chris Knox writes in New Zealand Books, Sarkies gift is for 'showing the inner workings of the average fucked-up human brain at its hideous and torturous work... Sarkies likes to show the ways in which all of us are, if not quite mad, then at least partly unhinged... Like Janet Frame or Doris Lessing, he can plunge you into a world of insanity that is too frighteningly familiar.'
Wild Man Eyes fuses 400 images by Matt Grace with Sarkies’ words and performance, based on the stories from his award-winning debut book, Stray Thoughts and Nose Bleeds. It toured the country in 2002. Wild Man Eyes also sold out at the 2002 Fringe Festival.
Duncan Sarkies wrote two episodes of the popular HBO TV series Flight of the Conchords, which screened in 2007 and 2008 in New Zealand.
He published his first novel, Two Little Boys (Penguin) in 2008. 'Filled with laugh-out-loud moments, cringe moments, and duck and cover moments, Two Little Boys is a well-paced top-notch psycho-comedy.' (The Press, 3 May 2008) The UK edition was published in 2009 by John Murray Publishers Ltd. Sarkies adapted the novel for screen for the Two Little Boys feature film starring Bret McKenzie and Hamish Blake, released in 2012. It is also known as Deano and Nige’s Best Last Day Ever.
Sarkies' novel, Demolition of the Century (Penguin NZ), was published in 2013.
Sarkies also wrote and contributed to the writing of four episodes of ABC’s show Maximum Choppage that aired in 2015, and script edited for ABC's Soul Mates.
Sarkies was the director, writer and co-creator of The Mysterious Secrets of Uncle Bertie's Botanarium, a fantasy podcast series. The BBC had considered developing it into a seven-episode series, and it was finally made available by Howl. The first series, released in 2016, has 12 episodes.
Duncan Sarkies was one of two recipients of the 2015 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship, shared with fellow writer Bob Glancy.
Sarkies lives in Wellington.
Updated December 2016
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
- Duncan Sarkies' profile on IMDb
- The Guardian article on The Mysterious Secrets of Uncle Bertie's Botanarium
- The Mysterious Secrets of Uncle Bertie's Botanarium can be accessed here
- Stuff.co.nz article about Duncan Sarkies
Updated January 2017.