Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje
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Philip Michael Ondaatje (born September 12, 1943), is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist and poet. He won the Booker Prize for his novel The English Patient, which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.

Early life

Ondaatje was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1943 and moved to England in 1954. He attended Dulwich College. After relocating to Canada in 1962, Ondaatje became a Canadian citizen. He studied for a time at Bishop's College School and Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Quebec, but moved to Toronto, where he received his BA from the University of Toronto and his MA from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. He then began teaching at the ... more »

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  • ''The first sentence of every novel should be: "Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human." Meander if you want to get to town.''
    Michael Ondaatje (b. 1943), Canadian novelist. "Palace of Purification," bk. 2, In the Skin of a Lion (1987).
  • ''The past is still, for us, a place that is not safely settled.''
    Michael Ondaatje (b. 1943), Canadian novelist. The Faber Book of Contemporary Canadian Short Stories, introduction (1990).
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Best Poem of Michael Ondaatje

The Cinnamon Peeler

If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
And leave the yellow bark dust
On your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
You could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to you hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly ...

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