Descended from Irish convicts transported to Van Diemens Land (later renamed
Tasmania) during the Great Famine, Richard Flanagan was born in his native
island in 1961, the fifth of six children. He spent his childhood in the mining
town of Rosebery and left school at sixteen to work as a bush laborer. He later
attended the University of Tasmania, graduating with first class honours in
1982. The following year he was awarded a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford
He wrote four history books before turning to fiction. The Unknown Terrorist is his fourth novel following Death of a River Guide (1994), The Sound of One Hand Clapping (1997) and Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish (2001).
He lives in Tasmania with his wife and three children. He is a keen canoeist, having canoed the Franklin River thirteen times, and was a member of the first expedition to canoe the Jane River and Gordon Gorge (one of his nonfiction works is A Terrible Beauty - ...