Michael Ondaatje

About Michael Ondaatje

Who is it?: Canadian poet
Birth Day: September 12, 1943
Birth Place: Colombo, Canadian
Occupation: Author
Language: English
Alma mater: University of Toronto Queen's University Bishop's University
Notable works: The English Patient Running in the Family Divisadero In the Skin of a Lion Coming Through Slaughter
Notable awards: Governor General's Award - Poetry Booker Prize Giller Prize Prix Médicis étranger Order of Canada St. Louis Literary Award
Spouse: Linda Spalding

Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje was born on September 12, 1943 in Colombo, Canadian, is Canadian poet. Michael Ondaatje is a Canadian novelist and poet whose best known work is the Booker Prize-winning novel, ‘The English Patient’. Born in Sri Lanka, he moved to England as a teenager before finally settling in Canada. Determined to make a mark as a poet from an early age, he started his writing career alongside his teaching profession, establishing himself as a poet before turning to fictional as well as autobiographical works. His works in poetry and fiction are infused with sensual images, rich language and a deeply metaphorical bent. He has published 13 books of poetry and six novels in his literary career and has been able to achieve a distinct name for himself in the world of literature. One of Canada’s most highly regarded writers, he is known for his writing that blurs the line between prose and poetry, past and present, image and intellect, and thought and feeling. He expresses the internal struggles of his characters using a poetic writing style that depends upon association, startling imagery and intense language. His 1992 novel ‘The English Patient’ is regarded as the most successful and well-crafted work of his career which was also adapted into an Academy Award winning motion picture. Deemed as a literary genius, he is one of Canada's most important contemporary writers and a prominent figure in the world of literature
Michael Ondaatje is a member of Writers

Does Michael Ondaatje Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Michael Ondaatje is still alive (as per Wikipedia, Last update: May 10, 2020).

🎂 Michael Ondaatje - Age, Bio, Faces and Birthday

Currently, Michael Ondaatje is 80 years, 2 months and 27 days old. Michael Ondaatje will celebrate 81rd birthday on a Thursday 12th of September 2024. Below we countdown to Michael Ondaatje upcoming birthday.

Popular As Michael Ondaatje
Occupation Writers
Age 80 years old
Zodiac Sign Libra
Born September 12, 1943 (Colombo, Canadian)
Birthday September 12
Town/City Colombo, Canadian
Nationality Canadian

🌙 Zodiac

Michael Ondaatje’s zodiac sign is Libra. According to astrologers, People born under the sign of Libra are peaceful, fair, and they hate being alone. Partnership is very important for them, as their mirror and someone giving them the ability to be the mirror themselves. These individuals are fascinated by balance and symmetry, they are in a constant chase for justice and equality, realizing through life that the only thing that should be truly important to themselves in their own inner core of personality. This is someone ready to do nearly anything to avoid conflict, keeping the peace whenever possible

🌙 Chinese Zodiac Signs

Michael Ondaatje was born in the Year of the Goat. Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Goat enjoy being alone in their thoughts. They’re creative, thinkers, wanderers, unorganized, high-strung and insecure, and can be anxiety-ridden. They need lots of love, support and reassurance. Appearance is important too. Compatible with Pig or Rabbit.

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Ondaatje was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, in 1943; and is of Dutch, Sinhalese, and Tamil ancestry. His parents separated when he was an infant; he then lived with relatives until 1954 when he joined his mother in England. While in England, Ondaatje pursued secondary education at Dulwich College; he then emigrated to Montreal, Quebec in 1962. After relocating to Canada, Ondaatje studied at Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Quebec for three years. In his final year he attended the University of Toronto where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965. In 1967, he received a Master of Arts from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.


Since the 1960s, Ondaatje has been involved with Toronto's Coach House Books, supporting the independent small press by working as a poetry Editor. Ondaatje and his wife Linda Spalding, a Novelist and academic, co-edit Brick, A Literary Journal, with Michael Redhill, Michael Helm, and Esta Spalding. In 1988, Ondaatje was made an Officer of the Order of Canada (OC) and two years later a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ondaatje has served on the board of trustees of the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry since 2000.


Ondaatje's literary career began with his poetry in 1967, publishing The Dainty Monsters, and then in 1970 the critically acclaimed The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. However, he is more recently recognized for his nationally and internationally successful novel The English Patient (1992), which was adapted into a film in 1996.


Ondaatje's work includes fiction, autobiography, poetry and film. He has published 13 books of poetry, and won the Governor General's Award for The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (1970) and There's a Trick With a Knife I'm Learning to Do: Poems 1973–1978 (1979). Anil's Ghost (2000) was the winner of the 2000 Giller Prize, the Prix Médicis, the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, the 2001 Irish Times International Fiction Prize and Canada's Governor General's Award. The English Patient (1992) won the Booker Prize, the Canada Australia Prize, and the Governor General's Award. It was adapted as a motion picture, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and multiple other awards. In the Skin of a Lion (1987), a novel about early immigrants in Toronto, was the winner of the 1988 City of Toronto Book Award, finalist for the 1987 Ritz Paris Hemingway Award for best novel of the year in English, and winner of the first Canada Reads competition in 2002.


The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Coming Through Slaughter and Divisadero have been adapted for the stage and produced in theatrical productions across North America and Europe. In addition to The English Patient adaptation, Ondaatje's films include a documentary on fellow poet B.P. Nichol, Sons of Captain Poetry, and The Clinton Special: A Film About The Farm Show, which chronicles a collaborative theatre experience led in 1971 by Paul Thompson of Theatre Passe Muraille. In 2002, Ondaatje published a non-fiction book, The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, which won special recognition at the 2003 American Cinema Editors Awards, as well as a Kraszna-Krausz Book Award for best book of the year on the moving image.


Coming Through Slaughter (1976), is a novel set in New Orleans, Louisiana circa 1900, loosely based on the lives of jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden and Photographer E. J. Bellocq. It was the winner of the 1976 Books in Canada First Novel Award. Running in the Family (1982) is a semi-fictional memoir of his Sri Lankan childhood.


On 11 July 1988, Ondaatje was made an Officer of the Order of Canada which was later upgraded to grade of companion in 2016, the highest level of the order. In 2005, he was honoured with Sri Lanka Ratna by the former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Sri Lanka Ratna is the highest honour given by the Government of Sri Lanka for foreign nationals.


Ondaatje's novel Divisadero won the 2007 Governor General's Award. In 2011 Ondaatje worked with Daniel Brooks to create a play based on this novel.


Ondaatje has two children with his first wife, Canadian Artist Kim Ondaatje. His brother Christopher Ondaatje is a philanthropist, businessman and author. Ondaatje's nephew David Ondaatje is a film Director and Screenwriter, who made the 2009 film The Lodger.


In April 2015, Ondaatje was one of several members of PEN American Center who withdrew as literary host when the organization gave its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to Charlie Hebdo. The award came in the wake of the shooting attack on the magazine's Paris offices in January 2015. Ondaatje and several other hosts felt that while the attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo was reprehensible, the magazine's history of deliberately anti-Islam provocation was not worthy of being honoured.


In 2016 a new species of spider, Brignolia ondaatjei, discovered in Sri Lanka, was named after him.

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