Anthony McCarten

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New Zealand author Anthony McCarten at a reading in Herford in September 2012.

Anthony McCarten (born 28 April 1961 in New Plymouth) is a New Zealand novelist, playwright, screenwriter and film producer.


McCarten was born in 1961 in New Plymouth and grew up there. He also attended Francis Douglas Memorial College there. Before studying art at Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington, McCarten worked for several years as a reporter at the Taranaki Herald. He studied creative writing.

In 1987, together with his friend Stephen Sinclair, he wrote the play Ladies’ Night, with which they enjoyed international success: Ladies’ Night was translated into 12 languages and won the Molière Prize in 2001. McCarten wrote another 12 plays, several screenplays, a book of poetry, short stories and five novels.

In the early 1990s, he played a small role in a zombie film directed by Peter Jackson.[1]

McCarten has worked successfully as a screenwriter and film producer since 2008. For his films The Discovery of Infinity (2015) and The Darkest Hour (2017) he was nominated twice for the Oscars and won two British Academy Film Awards. Both films are based on his novels, which he adapted and produced himself.

In 2019, the film adaptation of his book, The Two Popes, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, was released on Netflix. He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplayfor his screenplay

In 2018, McCarten was appointed to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars annually, among other honors.[2] He lives in Los Angeles, London, and Munich.[3] He has three children.



  • Invitation to a Second Class Carriage, 1984
  • Yellow Canary Mazurka, 1987
  • Ladies’ Night, 1987.
  • Pigeon English, 1988
  • Weed, 1990
  • Via Satellite, 1991
  • Hang on a Minute, Mate, 1992
  • Ladies’ Night 2, 1992
  • FILTH (Failed in London, Try Hong Kong), 1995
  • Four Cities aka “Continental Breakfast”, 1996
  • Brilliance, 2010
  • Superhero, 2014
  • Funny Girl, 2015


  • 1992: Nocturne in a Room (short film)
  • 1995: Fluff (short film)
  • 1999: Family Happiness or Other Disasters (Via Satellite)
  • 2005: The English Harem (TV movie)
  • 2008: Show of Hands
  • 2011: At the End of a Day Too Short (Death of a Superhero)
  • 2014: The Discovery of Infinity (The Theory Of Everything)
  • 2017: The Darkest Hour (Darkest Hour)
  • 2018: Bohemian Rhapsody
  • 2019: The TwoPopes (The Two Popes )


  • Spinners. 1999 (Engl. Love at the End of the World. Diogenes, Zurich 2011).
  • The English Harem. 2002 ( Englischer Harem. Diogenes, Zurich 2008).
  • Death of a Superhero. 2006 (Engl. Superhero. Diogenes, Zurich 2007).
  • Show Of Hands. Washington Square Press, New York 2009 (Engl. Hand aufs Herz. Diogenes, Zurich 2009).
  • In the Absence of Heroes. 2012 (Engl. Ganz normale Helden. Diogenes, Zurich 2012).
  • Funny Girl (original title: Funny Girl, translated by Manfred Allié and Gabriele Kempf-Allié). Diogenes, Zurich 2014, ISBN 978-3-257-06892-4.[4][5]
  • Brilliance (Engl. Licht. Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 2017) ISBN 978-3-257-06994-5
  • American Letters (Engl. Jack, Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 2018) ISBN 978-3-257-06856-6


  • Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought Us Back from the Brink (Ullstein Verlag, 2018) ISBN 978-3-548-37772-8
  • The Pope: Francis, Benedict, and the Decision That Shook the World : Francis and Benedict, and the Decision That Changed Everything, Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 2019) ISBN 978-3-257-07050-7


  • 2001: “Molière du meilleur spectacle comique” for Ladies Night
  • 2008: Shortlisted for the German Youth Literature Prize with the youth book Superhero
  • 2015: British Academy Awards (BAFTA) in the categories “Best British Film” and “Best Adapted Screenplay” for The Discovery of Infinity
  • 2015: Oscar nomination in the categories “best film” and “best adapted screenplay” for The Discovery of Infinity
  • 2018: Oscar nomination in the category “best film” for The Darkest Hour

Web links

Individual references

  1. Anthony McCarten: Zombie im Glück, in: Die Zeit No. 31, 25 July 2013, p. 51.
  2. Academy invites 928 to Membersphip. In: (retrieved June 26, 2018).
  3. Anthony McCarten Zombie in Luck In: Time, No. 31/2013, July 25, 2013, retrieved October 16, 2019.
  4. I’m wearing a burka from today … Review at Perlentaucher from August 4, 2014.
  5. Charlotte Theile:Burqa and Micro.In: SüddeutscheZeitung, cited from 4 August 2014, retrieved 16 October 2019.