Richard Flanagan was born in Tasmania in 1961, the fifth of six children. His first novel was Death of a River Guide, described by the Times Literary Supplement as "one of the most auspicious debuts in Australian writing." The Sound of One Hand Clapping, his next book, was a major bestseller, selling more than 150,000 copies in Australia. Flanagan's first two novels, declared Kirkus Reviews, "rank with the finest fiction out of Australia since the heyday of Patrick White." Gould's Book of Fish, his third novel, was hailed around the world as a masterpiece and won the 2002 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. His most recent novel, published in 2006, is The Unknown Terrorist. His books are published in 26 countries. Flanagan has also directed an acclaimed feature film based on The Sound of One Hand Clapping, and recently collaborated with Baz Luhrmann on the screenplay of Luhrmann's new film, Australia.