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Michael Ondaatje


(Philip Michael Ondaatje)
Sri Lanka (1943 - )

Philip Michael Ondaatje, OC, is a Sri Lankan Canadian novelist and poet, perhaps best known for his Booker Prize winning novel adapted into an Academy-Award-winning film, The English Patient.

Although he is best known as a novelist, Ondaatje's work also encompasses memoir, poetry, and film. His semi-fictional memoir of his Sri Lankan childhood is called Running in the Family (1982). He has published thirteen books of poetry, and won the Governor General's Award for two of them: 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).

The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and Coming Through Slaughter have been adapted for the stage and produced in numerous theatrical productions across North America. Ondaatje's three films include a documentary on fellow poet bp 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 he 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.

Ondaatje has, since the 1960s, also been involved with Toronto's influential Coach House Books, supporting the independent small press by working as a poetry editor.

In 1988 Michael Ondaatje was made an Officer of the Order of Canada (OC) and two years later became a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

He has two children and is the brother of philanthropist, businessman, and author Christopher Ondaatje.
 
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