Michael Ondaatje was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka [Ceylon], in 1943. He immigrated to England in 1954, then to Canada in 1962. He took his B.A. (1965) from the University of Toronto and his M.A. (1967) from Queen’s University. He has taught at the University of Western Ontario and, since 1970, at Glendon College, York University.
Poet and novelist, filmmaker and editor, Ondaatje is one of the most important contemporary writers, often merging or counterposing literary genres to create his own forms of writing. The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (1970), for example, juxtaposes poetry and prose, photographs and interviews, blurring fact and fiction, to narrate the story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett. And Running in the Family (1982) combines poetry and prose, photographs and anecdotes, to create an original form of autobiography that challenges the distinction between fact and fiction.
Among Ondaatje’s many honours are two Governor General’s Awards for Poetry, one Governor General’s Award for Fiction, and the Booker Prize.
Michael Ondaatje resides in Toronto, Ontario.
Books in the NCL: