Michael Ondaatje

Bestselling & Award-winning Author of The English Patient,
Running in the Family & The Cat’s Table

Michael 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. This bestselling novel 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, The English Patient, Anil's GhostDivisadero. 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.

Michael Ondaatje has garnered 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.

"Ondaatje couldn’t write a banal sentence if he tried. Every character here has a carnival richness . . . The tender weight and candlelight hush of Ondaatje’s prose render scene after scene indelible." — Pico Iyer, Time Magazine
"Each of [Ondaatje’s] books is filled with passages of such finesse and vividness that they become part of us. He is a writer whose best paragraphs hover just over the page, then fly into the mind." —The New Yorker
"Writing poetry and fiction, momentarily clutching his Asian heritage then spinning it off like a jitterbug partner, Ondaatje and his imagination can leap continents in a single paragraph." — Voice Literary Supplement
"Mr. Ondaatje is one of North America’s finest novelists." — The Wall Street Journal
Michael Ondaatje©Photo: Jeff Nolte