Frank Sargeson

Author: Frank Sargeson

Profile: Frank Sargeson was a New Zealand novelist and short story writer. He was born in Hamilton, New Zealand and died in Auckland, New Zealand. He wrote under the pen name Frank Sargeson. Frank is attributed with introducing everyday New Zealand English to literature. He had a comfortable albeit puritanical upbringing. He gained popularity for his literary depiction of the unsophisticated and Iaconic working class men in New Zealand. He finished his training as a solicitor after which he spent two years in the United Kingdom. He attained permanent residence in a northern suburb of Auckland at 14A Esmonde Road in Takapuna, at his parent’s holiday cottage. In due course he inherited the property which became a significant gathering place for many decades for the intellectual and Bohemian class in Auckland.

Frank Sargeson describes his original residence as just a small hut with a single room on a quiet street ending in a no-man’s land of mangrove mud flats that belonged to the inner harbor. The harbor had its weather-boards falling off and severely decayed.

Writing style: Frank Sargeson is known for his distinctive writing features, minimalist narration, delineation of character and an understanding of the tight range of syntax and idiomatic vocabulary appropriate to his characters.

Published Texts:



1936 – Conversation with my Uncle and Other Sketches

1940 – A Man and his Wife

1946 – That Summer And Other Stories

1964 – Collected Stories, 1935-1963 with an introduction by Bill Pearson (1964), with an introduction by E.M. Forster (1965)

1973 – The Stories of Frank Sargeson

Short stories

1936 – Conversation with my Uncle

Cats by the Tail


The Last War

In the Midst of Life

White Man’s Burden

Good Samaritan

A Good Boy

I’ve Lost my Pal

They Gave her a Rise

A Pair of Socks

An Affair of the Heart


In the Department

Three Men

An Attempt at an Explanation

A Great Day

Last Adventure

Miss Briggs



A Hen and some Eggs

Sale Day

The Making of a New Zealander

An Englishwoman Abroad

A Man and his Wife (1940)

Old Man’s Story

Big Ben

Part Seat

Two Worlds

A Man of Good Will

That Summer

Gods Live in Woods

Letter to a Friend


The Hole that Jack Dug

The Undertaker’s Story

The Colonel’s Daughter

A Personal Memory

Novels and novellas

1949 – I Saw in my Dream

1952 – I for One

1965 – Memoirs of a peon

1967 – The Hangover

1969 – Joy of the Worm

1976 – Sunset Village

1979 – En Route


1973 – Once is Enough: A Memoir

1975 – More than Enough: A Memoir

1977 – Never Enough: Places and People Mainly

Awards and Acknowledgements:

The Frank Saargeson Trust was launched by Christine Cole Catley

1987 – The Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship a New Zealand literary award was established to provide assistance to writers in New Zealand. Janet Frame, Michael King and Alan Duff are some of the writers who received the award

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