Clarke, John 1948-

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CLARKE, John 1948-
(John Morrison Clarke)

PERSONAL:

Born July 29, 1948, in Palmerston North, New Zealand. Education: Attended Scots College and Victoria University.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Melbourne, Australia. Office—Huntaway Films, P.O. Box 12553, A Beckett St., Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Comedian, actor, radio personality, author, director, and political satirist. Creator, with Bryan Dawe, of the Australian television shows A Current Affair, 1989-97, and 7.30 Report. Actor in films, including Death in Brunswick, Prisoners of the Sun, Crackerjack, Roy Hollsdatter Live, and Never Say Die; actor on The Gillies Report, ABC-TV, Australia, 1984; creator and host of television comedy series The Games, 1998-2000. Director, Stiff, 2003. Cofounder of Huntaway Films, 2004. Inventor.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Award for best screenplay of a television drama, Australian Film Institute, 2001, for The Games; Byron Kennedy Award, Australian Film Institute, 2004.

WRITINGS:

The Fred Dagg Careers Advisory Bureau, illustrated by Malcolm Evans, Fourth Estate Books (Wellington, New Zealand), 1979.

The Fred Dagg Scripts, illustrated by Patrick Cook, Nelson (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1981.

Daggshead Revisited, illustrated by Patrick Cook, Nelson (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1982.

The Complete Book of Australian Verse, illustrated by Jenny Coopes, Allen & Unwin (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1989.

A Complete Dagg, illustrated by Jenny Coopes, Allen & Unwin (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1989.

Great Interviews of the Twentieth Century, Allen & Unwin (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1990.

More Great Interviews, Allen & Unwin (St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia), 1992.

The Even More Complete Book of Australian Verse, illustrated by Jenny Coopes, Allen & Unwin (St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia), 1994, revised edition, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2003.

A Dagg at My Table: Writings, 1977-1996, illustrated by Jenny Coopes, Hodder Moa Beckett (Auckland, New Zealand), 1996.

Still the Two: Just Taking in One Interview at a Time, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

A Dagg at My Table: Selected Writings, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1998.

(With Ross Stevenson) The Games, A.B.C. Books (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.

(With Ross Stevenson) The Games: Series II: Sharing the Blame, A.B.C. Books (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2000.

The Man Who Sued God (screenplay), 2001.

The Tournament, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2002, published as The Tournament: A Novel of the 20th Century, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2003.

The Howard Miracle: Interviews from "The 7.30 Report," Text Publishing (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2003.

(Adaptor, with Sam Neill) The Brush Off and Stiff (screenplays; based on the novels by Shane Maloney), Network Seven (Australia), 2004.

The 7.56 Report: An Official Inquiry into Just About Everything, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Australia), 2006.

Coauthor of television series Anzacs; author of introduction for Together Alone: Poems and Stories for Daffodil Day, Text Publishing (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

SIDELIGHTS:

Native New Zealander John Clarke is a popular Australian comedian, actor, and director. His first claim to fame was creating the character of Fred Dagg, a laconic Australian farmer, whose humorous bantering punctuated a number of different radio and television shows. Many of these performances have been collected into books and CDs.

Clarke's The Tournament: A Novel of the 20th Century is one of his most popular books and the first to be published in the United States. In it, he relates the history of the twentieth century through fictionalized versions of famous personalities as they gather in Paris for a thirty-six day tennis tournament. Charles Darwin, T.S. Eliot, Amelia Earhart, and over one hundred others—many of them all-stars of the literary world—trade bon mots as the tennis balls fly, giving the reader a casual overview of the century using the twisted words and ideas of these great minds. It is "an outrageous premise," wrote a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, and David Pitt, writing in Booklist, marveled at how Clarke made "this preposterous premise pay off." A critic for Kirkus Reviews complimented Clarke's "wonderfully sensitive parodies of the styles of the greats."

Many of Clarke's other publications feature humorous poetry; in The Complete Book of Australian Verse, he wrote each of the poems and attributed them to fictional poets, such as "Thomas the Tank Hardy" and "Sylvia Blath"; he has also written several screenplays and starred in a number of films.

Clarke, along with Bryan Dawe, attained further stardom in the 1990s as the creators of a mockumentary news show called A Current Affair. Its success led to a new show, The 7.30 Report, where Clarke and Dawe continue to poke fun at the political figures on the Australian scene. Additionally, Clarke wrote and produced a two-season television series called The Games, which was a satire concerning the Sydney Olympics of 2000 that poked fun at the bureaucracy and moral mishaps of the event.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2003, David Pitt, review of The Tournament: A Novel of the 20th Century, p. 1950.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2003, review of The Tournament, p. 975.

Publishers Weekly, August 4, 2003, review of The Tournament, p. 54.

World and I, February, 2004, Lee Congdon, review of The Tournament, p. 215.

ONLINE

Huntaway Films Web site,http://www.huntawayfilms.co.nz (September 15, 2006).*

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