Michael Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka in 1943. He moved to England in 1954, and in 1962 moved to Canada where he has lived ever since. He was educated at the University of Toronto and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and began teaching at York University in Toronto in 1971. He published a volume of memoir, entitled Running in the Family, in 1983. His collections of poetry include The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left Handed Poems (1981), which won the Canadian Governor General’s Award in 1971.
Ondaatje's fourth novel The English Patient (1992) was joint winner of the Booker Prize for Fiction and was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 1996. Michael was also nominated for the Man Booker International Prize in 2007.
He lives in Toronto with his wife, Linda Spalding, with whom he edits the literary journal Brick.