Flanagan, Richard

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Flanagan, Richard

Richard Flanagan, 1961–, Australian novelist, b. Longford, Tasmania, studied Univ. of Tasmania (grad. 1982), Oxford (Rhodes scholar). Flanagan, whose novels explore the past and present of his native land, wrote four volumes of history before turning to fiction. His acclaimed first novel, Death of a River Guide (1994), tells of an Australian guide who, as he drowns, recounts his life and the lives of his family and forebears. Among his subsequent novels, The Sound of One Hand Clapping (1997, film 1998) is about Slovenian immigrants to Tasmania, Gould's Book of Fish (2001) recounts an early 19th-century Australian convict artist's love affair with a black woman, The Unknown Terrorist (2007) examines post–9/11 Australia, and Wanting (2008) juxtaposes events in the life of Charles Dickens with the unhappy story of an aboriginal girl. The Narrow Road to the Deep North (2013), which interweaves an adulterous affair with a tale of the brutal experience of prisoners of war forced to build the Burma Railway, won the Man Booker Prize. Flanagan has also written essays and screenplays.

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