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Richard Flanagan and the Man Booker
November 27, 2014
Hi,

How have you been? We dug up some interesting facts about the Nobel Prize for literature and about Patrick Modiano, in last month’s Book Lovers Club News. In this month’s issue, we will dig deeper into the Bookers and find out more about the 2014 winner of the Man Booker, Richard Flanagan. I do hope you have time to read the issue, before you start your Thanksgiving holiday Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan At fifty three, Richard Flanagan has received much literary acclaim culminating in the 2014 commendation by the Booker authorities. A resident of Tasmania, which is a small island off the southern coast of Australia, Flanagan’s novels are based in Australia and are embedded in the country’s rough history. Flanagan has quite a repertoire of such experiences from second hand sources. His father, for example, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway project. Horror stories of torture during the project helped Flanagan create the backdrop of his Booker winning novel- The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North took him twelve years to complete. So long had Richard taken to finish the book that he was running out of liquidity by the end of it and was even considering work in the mines of Australia. When asked what he would do with the prize money, we are not surprised by his answer. Flanagan said: “Live, I'm not a wealthy man. In essence, this means I can continue to write”.

Our man’s talent has been recognized in several ways before the Booker as well. Interestingly, Flanagan has a rapid named after himself. Situated on the Franklin river, it is called Flanagan’s Surprise. A film written and directed by Flanagan on his own novel, The Sound of One Hand Clapping was nominated for the Golden Bear in the 1998 Berlin Film Festival. A painting of Richard Flanagan by artist Geoffrey Dyer won the Archibald Prize in 2003.

On a different note, the Booker Prize Foundation announced in September 2013 that American Literature would henceforth be considered for the competitive award. This has not gone down well with many commonwealth authors. Peter Carey and Flanagan are two Australian writers belonging to this school of thought. They believe that the move will lead the Booker to lose its flavor as a prize for literature of the commonwealth nations. America, in their opinion, has a strong culture of its own that is different from the commonwealth culture.

Book Review Circle gossip

Did you know that Flanagan destroys all drafts of his novel, rewriting novels from scratch several times over, until he is happy with the product? He mentions burning drafts of his novels on the barbeque. He says, “A good writer needs a good rubbish bin. My one strength as a writer is an awareness of how mediocre most of what I write is. Perhaps a good writer is a bad writer who is a better rewriter.”

Book Review Circle suggested read:

The Narrow Road to the Deep North- ofcourse, what else!

Test your Literary Quotient

See if you know answers to the following:
  1. Name Richard Flanagan’s debut novel
  2. Flanagan graduated from the Worcester College, Oxford on a scholarship. Name it.
  3. Name the novel that can be called a precursor to The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The book is full of Aboriginal massacres, prison tortures and a railway project that uses slave laborers.

Answers

  1. Death of a River Guide
  2. The coveted Rhodes scholarship
  3. Gould’s Book of Fish
Do write in to me at feedback@book-review-circle.com with your comments, updates and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ok. I will leave you to munch on that.

Happy reading till we meet again.

Ashmita

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