Michael Ondaatje

Philip Michael Ondaatje CC FRSL (/ɒnˈdɑːtʃiː/; born 12 September 1943), is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian poet, fiction writer, essayist, novelist, editor, and filmmaker. He is the recipient of multiple literary awards such as the Governor General’s Award, the Giller Prize, the Booker Prize, and the Prix Médicis étranger. Ondaatje is also an Officer of the Order of Canada, recognizing him as one of Canada’s most renowned living authors.

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. In 2018, Ondaatje won the Golden Man Booker Prize for The English Patient.

In addition to his literary writing, Ondaatje has been an important force in “fostering new Canadian writing” with two decades commitment to Coach House Press (around 1970–90), and his editorial credits on Canadian literary projects like the journal Brick, and the Long Poem Anthology (1979), among others.

Books in order of publication:


  • 1976: Coming Through Slaughter (also see “Other” section, 1980, below), Toronto: Anansi ; New York: W. W. Norton, 1977
  • 1987: In the Skin of a Lion, New York: Knopf.
  • 1992: The English Patient, New York: Knopf.
  • 2000: Anil’s Ghost, New York: Knopf.
  • 2007: Divisadero.
  • 2011: The Cat’s Table.
  • 2018: Warlight.
  • Poetry collections
  • 1962: Social Call, The Love Story, In Search of Happiness, all featured in The Mitre: Lennoxville: Bishop University Press[18]
  • 1967: The Dainty Monsters, Toronto: Coach House Press[19]
  • 1969: The Man with Seven Toes, Toronto: Coach House Press[19]
  • 1970: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left-Handed Poems (also see “Other” section, 1973, below), Toronto: Anansi; New York: Berkeley, 1975
  • 1973: Rat Jelly, Toronto: Coach House Press
  • 1978: Elimination Dance/La danse eliminatoire, Ilderton: Nairn Coldstream; revised edition, Brick, 1980
  • 1979: There’s a Trick with a Knife I’m Learning to Do: Poems, 1963–1978, New York: W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 1979.
    • published as Rat Jelly, and Other Poems, 1963–1978, London, United Kingdom: Marion Boyars, 1980.
  • 1984: Secular Love, Toronto: Coach House Press.
  • 1986: All along the Mazinaw: Two Poems (broadside), Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Woodland Pattern.
  • 1986: Two Poems, Woodland Pattern, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1989: The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems, London, United Kingdom: Pan; New York: Knopf, 1991.
  • 1998: Handwriting, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart; New York: Knopf, 1999.
  • 2006: The Story, Toronto: House of Anansi.
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