Michael Ondaatje

Although he is perhaps best known as a novelist, MICHAEL ONDAATJE’s work also encompasses poetry, memoir, and film. 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. Ondaatje wrote a memoir of his childhood, RUNNING IN THE FAMILY, and is the author of four collections of poetry, including THE CINNAMON PEELER, THERE’S A TRICK WITH A KNIFE I’M LEARNING TO DO, which won a Governor General’s Award, and most recently, HANDWRITING. Ondaatje’s work of nonfiction is THE CONVERSATIONS: WALTER MURCH AND THE ART OF EDITING FILM, which unites his love of literature and passion for the art of filmmaking. His works of fiction include IN THE SKIN OF A LION, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, which was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, ANIL’S GHOST, DIVISADERO, and THE CAT’S TABLE. His most recent novel is WARLIGHT. Ondaatje is also a filmmaker and the creator of three documentary films of the 1970s—THE CLINTON SPECIAL: A FILM ABOUT THE FARM SHOW, SONS OF CAPTAIN POETRY, and CARRY ON CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. Ondaatje has won several literary prizes, including the Booker Prize for Fiction, the Irish Times International Prize for Fiction, the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, the Prix Medicis, the Governor General’s Award, and the Giller Prize.

Photo Credit: ©Rolex-Bart Michiels

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