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Richard Flanagan, born in Tasmania in 1961, has given a voice to Tasmania in contemporary fiction. A Rhodes scholar, he has worked as a labourer and river guide, and all of these experiences can be found in his novels.

His books have been published to critical acclaim in both Australia and overseas. A winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2002 for Gould's Book of Fish', and he made the shortlist for his 2009 novel Wanting. However in 2003, as a passionate supporter of Tasmanian forests, he shunned the Tasmania Pacific Region Prize, when he found it was co-sponsored by Tasmania's Forestry Commission.

Richard Flanagan lives in Tasmania, where he was born in Longford in 1961.

Library Resources





Criticism and interpretation:


In May 2007 at the height of conflict over the building of a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, near Launceston Tasmania, Richard Flanagan published an article in The Monthly. In 'Out of control: the Tragedy of Tasmania's Forests' he writes passionately about 'the forests [that] are being destroyed in Tasmania, in spite of widespread community opposition and increasing international concern''.

  • Flanagan, Richard, 2014, 'On love stories and Reza Barati', In And what do you do Mr.Gable? New and collected essays, Vintage, North Sydney, N.S.W., pp. 332-363. This is Richard Flanagan' celebrated closing address from the Perth Writers Festival, 2011.


Audio Visual resources

From the Library's collections:

Australian Story: Richard Flanagan

Imagine: Life after death: Richard Flanagan journeys with Presenter, Alan Yentob through his native Tasmania, visiting the places that have inspired his novels, and on to Thailand, to see first-hand the site of the Death Railway. O

From The Wheeler Centre:

Richard Flanagan: The Narrow Road of the Deep North



Audio Book


  • eLibrary - General author/title search




Death of a river guide

First Person

Gould's book of fish

  • Banville, John, 2002, 'On fatal shore' The New York Review of Books, September

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

  • Charles, Ron, 2014, 'The Narrow road to the deep north', The Washington Post, August.

The Sound of one hand clapping

The Unknown terrorist



And what do you do Mr. Gable? New and collected essays (2015)


First person

The Narrow Road to the Deep North


Wanting by Richard Flanagan book trailer

  1. What led you to write WANTING?
  2. Who are the main characters in WANTING?
  3. What would you consider to be the themes of WANTING?
  4. How are the lives of Charles Dickens and Mathinna connected?
  5. There are fictional and historical characters in the story. How much licence did you take with the facts?
  6. How different was it writing the script for Baz Luhrmanns


Web Resources

ABC Splash

The Inaugural Boisbouvier Lecture, Melbourne Writers Festival, 2016

The Man Booker Prize, 2014

Richard Flanagan's novel First Person is based on his own experience when he was asked to ghost write a book about the fraudster and conman John Friedrich (1950-1991). 

  • You can read more about John Friedrich in an entry by Frank Bongiorno in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.