Michael Ondaatje

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Michael Ondaatje is a Canadian novelist and poet whose best-known work is ‘The English Patient,’ which won the Booker Prize. He was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in England before moving in Canada. From an early age, he was determined to build a name for himself as a poet, and he began writing alongside his teaching career, establishing himself as a poet before moving on to fictional and autobiographical works. Sensual pictures, complex vocabulary, and a strong metaphorical bent abound throughout his poetry and fiction. In his literary career, he has written 13 books of poetry and six novels, and he has made a name for himself in the world of writing. He is noted for his writing that blurs the lines between prose and poetry, past and present, picture and intellect, and idea and feeling. He is one of Canada’s most well-known writers. He uses a poetic literary style that relies on association, vivid imagery, and powerful vocabulary to describe his characters’ psychological conflicts. His 1992 novel ‘The English Patient,’ which was subsequently turned into an Academy Award-winning cinematic picture, is widely regarded as his most successful and well-crafted work. He is one of Canada’s most important current writers and a notable personality in the world of literature, and he is regarded as a literary genius.

Childhood and Adolescence

Mervyn Ondaatje and his wife, Doris Gratiaen, gave birth to Michael Ondaatje on September 12, 1943, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Christopher Ondaatje, his older brother, went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He and his mother came to England in 1954, where he began his studies at Dulwich College in London, after getting his first education at St. Thomas’ College in Colombo.

He attended Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada from 1962 to 1964. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in 1965 and a master’s degree in 1967 from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Career of Michael Ondaatje

In 1967, Michael Ondaatje began his teaching career at the University of Western Ontario in London. He joined the Department of English at Glendon College, York University, Toronto, in 1971. He published his first collection of poems, ‘The Dainty Monsters,’ in 1967, which contains a sequence of rhymes that link everyday life to mythology.
With his work ‘Coming Through Slaughter,’ he made his debut as a novelist in 1976. It’s a novel about Buddy Bolden, a jazz musician from New Orleans, and his journey into madness.

‘Running in the Family,’ his memoirs about life in Ceylon, was published in 1982, and ‘In the Skin of a Lion,’ a book about the conflict between the rich and the poor in early twentieth-century Toronto, was published in 1987. ‘Secular Love,’ a poetry collection he published in 1984, comprises poems about the breakup of his marriage. ‘The Cinnamon Peeler’ (1989) and ‘Handwriting: Poems’ are two of his other poetic works (1998).

He published his novel ‘Anil’s Ghost’ in 2000, which is set in Sri Lanka during the political turmoil of the 1980s and 1990s. ‘Divisadero’ (2007) and ‘The Cat’s Table’ (2008) are two of his most recent novels (2011).
He has also contributed to short films and plays in addition to writing. He’s also an editor who’s impacted and shaped a lot of Canadian writers.

Major Projects of Michael Ondaatje

‘The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left-Handed Poems,’ published in 1970, is one of his most well-known works. It’s a collection of poems, prose, photos, and even comic comics about the essence of heroism and violence.

Ondaatje, Michael The English Patient, Ondaatje’s best-known work, won him the Booker Prize in 1992 and was later turned into an Academy Award-winning film. The novel is set in Italy at the conclusion of WWII and tells an epic story about the physical and emotional toll that war takes.

Achievements & Awards

He won the coveted ‘E. J. Pratt Medal’ and the ‘Epstein Award’ in 1966. The ‘University of Western Ontario’ gave him the President’s Medal in 1967. For his poem ‘The Collected Works of Billy the Kid,’ he won the ‘Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction’ (Canada) in 1971.

For his poetry collection ‘There’s a Knife Trick I’m Learning to Do,’ he received the ‘Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction’ (Canada) in 1980. He was awarded an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1988. (OC). In 1990, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters as a Foreign Honorary Member.

He won the prestigious ‘Booker Prize for Fiction’ in 1992 for his acclaimed novel ‘The English Patient.’ He also won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction (Canada) for the same novel in the same year. For his work ‘Anil’s Ghost,’ he won the ‘Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize,’ the ‘Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction,’ and the ‘Giller Prize,’ all in 2000.

Personal History and Legacy

Michael Ondaatje is married to novelist and scholar Linda Spalding, with whom he has two daughters.

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated net worth of Michael Ondaatje is $11 Million.