Michael Ondaatje

Participating Authors:



Philip Michael Ondaatje is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist and poet of Colombo Chetty and Burgher origin. He is perhaps best known for his Booker Prize-winning novel, The English Patient, which was adapted into an Academy-Award-winning film. He moved to England in 1954, and in 1962 moved to Canada where he has lived ever since.

He was educated at the University of Toronto and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and began teaching at York University in Toronto in 1971. Michael Ondaatje lives in Toronto with his wife, Linda Spalding, with whom he edits the literary journal Brick.

Major works include:

  • Running in the Family (1983)
  • The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left Handed Poems (1981), which won the Canadian Governor General’s Award in 1971;
  • The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems (1989)
  • Handwriting: Poems (1998)
  • Coming Through Slaughter (1976)
  • The English Patient (1992) joint winner of the Booker Prize for Fiction and was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 1996
  • Anil’s Ghost (2000)
  • Divisadero (2007)

Notable awards

  • Governor General's Award - Poetry
  • Booker Prize
  • Giller Prize
  • Prix Médicis étranger
  • Order of Canada