The English Patient: Biography: Michael Ondaatje

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Michael Ondaatje was born in 1943 in Sri Lanka. In 1954, he moved to England and then to Canada in 1962. He studied at the University of Toronto and Queen’s University, Ontario and went on to teach at York University, Toronto.
He first achieved literary success as a poet with works such as The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left Handed Poems (1981) and The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems (1989). He has since come to be regarded as a novelist most notably with the fame achieved with the welcome critical reception of his fourth novel, The English Patient (1992). This was a joint winner of the Booker Prize in 1992, along with The Sacred Hunger (1992) by Barry Unsworth, and was adapted for film in 1996. He has also written a memoir, which is entitled Running in the Family (1983).
Of his other work, Coming Through Slaughter (1976) is a fictionalised biography of Buddy Bolden, and, therefore, plays with the boundaries of fact and fiction. Anil’s Ghost (2000) is the follow-up to The English Patient and is set in Sri Lanka. The more recent Divisadero (2007) is set in France and California. He and his wife, the novelist Linda Spalding, are also two of the editors of the literary journal Brick.

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