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What is the truth? In this blistering story of a ghost writer haunted by his demonic subject, the Man Booker Prize winner turns to lies, crime and literature with devastating effect

A young and penniless writer, Kif Kehlmann, is rung in the middle of the night by the notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of $700 million, Heidl proposes a deal: $10,000 for Kehlmann to ghost write his memoir in six weeks.

But as the writing gets under way, Kehlmann begins to fear that he is being corrupted by Heidl. As the deadline draws closer, he becomes ever more unsure if he is ghost writing a memoir, or if Heidl is rewriting him—his life, his future. Everything that was certain grows uncertain as he begins to wonder: who is Siegfried Heidl—and who is Kif Kehlmann?

By turns compelling, comic, and chilling, First Person is a haunting journey into the heart of our age.


Flanagan’s best work to date.

Readings magazine

…a tour de force from one of our greatest contemporary writers.

The Australian Women’s Weekly

The real joy of [First Person] is the intensity of its honesty and its writing. This is a book of demonic possession, of obsession, and there’s a zinger of thought, of expression, in every paragraph.

Phillip Adams, The Australian

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    October 2, 2017

    Knopf Australia

    480 pages

    RRP $48.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    October 2, 2017

    RHA eBooks Adult

    480 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory


Our first battle was birth. I wanted it in, he wanted it out. All that day and half of the next we argued. He said it had nothing to do with him. Later I began to see his point, but at the time it seemed bloody-mindedness and evidence of an inexplicable obstruction—as though he didn’t actually want any memoir ever written. Of course, he didn’t want a memoir written, but that wasn’t his point. Or the point. But I only realised this later, much later, when I came to fear that the beginning of that book was also the end of me.

Too late, in other words.

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Also by Richard Flanagan

The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Notes on an Exodus
The Australian Disease: On the Decline of Love and the Rise of Non-Freedom: Short Black 1
The Great Australian Writers' Collection 2013
Out of a Wild Sea
Out of a Wild Sea (Storycuts)
The Sound Of One Hand Clapping
Gould's Book Of Fish
Death Of A River Guide
The Unknown Terrorist
And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Girl on the Train
The Golden House
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Swing Time
The Mistress
Tiger Men
The Golden Age
Fifty Shades Darker
A Long Way from Home
Uncommon Type
The Trip of a Lifetime
The Light Between Oceans
Line of Fire
Ready Player One