Michael Ondaatje

Poet and Author

Ondaatje is one of the world's foremost writers – his artistry and aesthetic have influenced an entire generation of writers and readers. Although he is best known as a novelist, Ondaatje’s work also encompasses poetry, memoir, and film, and reveals a passion for defying conventional form. His transcendent novel The English Patient, explores the stories of people history fails to reveal by intersecting four diverse lives at the end of World War II. The bestselling novel won the Booker Prize and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film.

Ondaatje himself is an interesting intersection of cultures. Born in Sri Lanka, the former Ceylon, of Indian/Dutch ancestry, he went to school in England, and then moved to Canada. He is now a Canadian citizen. From the memoir of his childhood, Running in the Family, to his Governor-General’s Award-winning book of poetry, There’s a Trick With a Knife I’m Learning To Do, to his classic novel, The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje casts a spell over his readers. And having won the British Commonwealth’s highest honor, the Booker Prize, he has taken his rightful place as a contemporary literary treasure.

He is the author of four collections of poetry including The Cinnamon Peeler and most recently, Handwriting. His works of fiction include In the Skin of a Lion, Anil's Ghost Divisadero. and The Cat’s Table. Ondaatje’s work of non-fiction is The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, which unites his love of literature and passion for the art of filmmaking.