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University of Texas at Austin

Michael Ondaatje

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Ondaatje, Michael, 1943-
Title: Michael Ondaatje Papers
Dates: 1904-2015 (bulk 1990-2015)
Extent: 226 document boxes (94.92 linear feet), 16 oversize boxes (osb), 3 oversize folders (osf), and 868 electronic files (7.1 GB)
Abstract: The papers of writer Michael Ondaatje consist of handwritten notebooks and manuscripts, annotated drafts, typescripts, proofs, handwritten research notes and research material, personal and professional correspondence, travel journals and notebooks, personal and professional papers, promotional material, works by others, and electronic files. They document Ondaatje's range of creative output including works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, as well as adaptations of his works.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-54105
Language: Predominately English; some printed material and documents in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Sinhalese, Spanish
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. To request access to electronic files, please email Reference.
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use: Certain restrictions apply to the use of electronic files. Researchers must agree to the Materials Use Policy for Electronic Files before accessing them. Original computer disks and forensic disk images are restricted. Copying electronic files, including screenshots and printouts, is not permitted. Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Center's Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation: Michael Ondaatje Papers (Manuscript Collection MS-54105). Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.
Acquisition: Purchase, 2017 (17-05-015-P)
Processed by: Daniela Lozano, 2018; Irene Lule, 2018-2021 Born digital materials processed, arranged, and described by Chance Adams and Brenna Edwards, 2015-2022.

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Philip Michael Ondaatje was born September 12, 1943, in Colombo, Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) to Philip Mervyn Ondaatje and Doris Gratiaen. Following their divorce, Ondaatje's mother moved to England with his siblings. At the age of eleven, he joined his mother in England and attended Dulwich College. In 1962, he moved to Canada and attended Bishop's University for three years before completing his BA at the University of Toronto and graduating from Queen's University with an MA. Following a brief period focused on doctoral studies, Ondaatje began teaching at Glendon College, York University while starting to focus mostly on writing.
Ondaatje published his earliest works in the 1960s, The Dainty Monsters (1967) and The Man with Seven Toes (1969), both with Coach House Press. In 1970, The Collected Works of Billy the Kid was released, which earned him his first Governor General's Award. Coach House Press published another collection of poems, Rat Jelly, in 1973. In 1979, he published his first novel, Coming Through Slaughter, focused on the life of early jazz musician Buddy Bolden. The 1980s saw Ondaatje publish numerous works, including Running in the Family (1982), a pseudo-memoir about his family and life in Sri Lanka, and The Cinnamon Peeler (1989), his last book of poetry until 1998. In 1987, Ondaatje published In the Skin of a Lion, a novel focused on the lives of several people in 1930s Toronto.
In 1992, The English Patient was released to critical and public acclaim. Set primarily in World War II, the novel centers on several characters including a badly burned victim of unknown origins (revealed through flashbacks) and his caretaker, a Canadian nurse briefly featured in In the Skin of a Lion. Along with winning his second Governor General's Award, Ondaatje received the Booker Prize (the first Canadian to ever do so) for this novel in a split win.
Much of Ondaatje's work has been adapted to plays, musicals, and film, with The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and Coming Through Slaughter being the two most frequently adapted. The film version of The English Patient was released in 1996. Directed by Anthony Minghella and produced by Saul Zaentz, the film received twelve Oscar nominations and won nine, including Best Picture.
The years following The English Patient saw consistent work from Ondaatje. He published his first book of poetry in nine years, Handwriting, in 1998. Two years later, he released Anil's Ghost (2000), a novel focused on a Sri Lankan forensic pathologist studying human rights atrocities during the civil wars in her native country. The 2000s saw several more publications, including Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Film Editing (2002), a book centered on interviews with Walter Murch, editor of The English Patient (film); Divisadero (2007); and The Cat's Table (2011), a novel that mirrors Ondaatje's original voyage to England as a child. In 2018, Ondaatje published Warlight, which focused on a pair of siblings living through World War II and its effects on their lives. The novel was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Also in 2018, Ondaatje's The English Patient was awarded the Golden Man Booker Prize (created to celebrate the award's 50th anniversary) as the best Booker-awarded work.
Aside from his writing, Ondaatje has been involved in the Canadian and Sri Lankan literary communities. He, along with Linda Spalding, served as editors of Brick, a literary journal, for many years. He has also served as editor for several books about Canadian literature, including ones on the works of bpNichol and Mavis Gallant. Additionally, Ondaatje served on the board and as editor for Coach House Press. Using the funds awarded from the Booker Prize, Ondaatje created the Gratiaen Award (named after his mother) which is given out annually to the best English-language literary work published in Sri Lanka.
Ondaatje married his first wife, Kim Jones, in 1964. Their son, Griffin, was born soon after and their daughter, Quintin, in 1967. He met his second wife, Linda Spalding, in Hawaii. Linda and her daughter, Esta, joined Ondaatje in Canada soon afterwards.
As of 2021, Ondaatje lives in Toronto with his wife, Linda.


In addition to material in the collection, the following sources were used:
New, W. H. A History of Canadian Literature. (New York: New Amsterdam), 1989.
Spinks, Lee. Contemporary World Writers: Michael Ondaatje. (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press), 2009.

Scope and Contents

The papers of writer Michael Ondaatje consist of handwritten notebooks and manuscripts, annotated drafts, typescripts, proofs, research material, personal and professional correspondence, travel journals and notebooks, personal and professional papers, promotional material, works by others, and electronic files.
The papers are organized into five series: I. Works, 1904-2014, undated; II. Correspondence, 1970s-2015, undated; III. Personal and Professional Papers, circa 1960s-2015, undated; IV. Works by Others, 1968-2009, undated; and V. Serials and Publications, 1951-2007.
The papers arrived in bankers boxes organized by Ondaatje's long-time assistant, Tulin Valeri, and Ondaatje's son, Griffin. The collection also contains some sticky notes written by Ondaatje, Valeri, or Griffin identifying and providing context to the material. These have been kept and rehoused in polyester sleeves for preservation purposes. Please note that any title in the container list within single quotations (' ') indicates the title was taken from a folder, sticky note, or the material itself.
There was little original order to much of the material. While there were some folders, envelopes, and bags used to separate material, boxes typically contained sizable amounts of loose material. In most cases, items were dated and allowed for chronological ordering.
Series I. Works primarily documents Ondaatje's published works from 1976 to 2011. Materials include notebooks, typescripts, notes, correspondence, publicity materials, and research materials.
Subseries A. Novels, Collections, and Nonfiction documents Ondaatje's literary career with a heavy focus on works published after In the Skin of a Lion. Publications included are Anil's Ghost, The Cat's Table, The Cinnamon Peeler, The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Coming through Slaughter, The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, Divisadero, The English Patient, From Ink Lake, Handwriting, In the Skin of a Lion, Running in the Family, and Secular Love. His earliest work reflected in the collection was published in 1976, with the most recent publication being 2011's The Cat's Table. The vast majority of Ondaatje's papers covering his early work (pre-The English Patient) is located at the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.
Ondaatje's approach to his writing process is visible in the collection and is reflected in the arrangement of the materials. Ondaatje typically begins writing in notebooks. Before additional revisions are made, the notebooks are photocopied as a form of backup as they were heavily annotated and revised by Ondaatje throughout the early writing process. The notebooks are then dictated to audiocassettes (mostly absent from the collection) and the recordings sent to a typist to create the earliest typed drafts for Ondaatje's review. From there, the typical revision process begins. Anil's Ghost, Divisadero, The Cat's Table, and The English Patient all contain extensive photocopies of the original notebooks, as well as the original notebooks. Ondaatje allows numerous individuals to read working drafts throughout the writing process, including his longtime friend and fellow writer David Young; Random House Canada publisher Louise Dennys; his editor, Ellen Seligman; his son, Griffin Ondaatje; stepdaughter, Esta Spalding; and wife, Linda. Given the amount of people consulted by Ondaatje, there are numerous drafts for most major works. Anil's Ghost, Divisadero, and The English Patient all contain at least ten complete drafts, several incomplete ones, and numerous fragments.
Central to the collection are notebooks used for the earliest drafts of Ondaatje's works. There are often several groups of notebooks, each reflecting a draft version. For example, in Anil's Ghost, there are three groups "Pliny (10 notebooks)," "Pliny Re-Write (5 notebooks)," and, "Pliny Blue Draft (7 notebooks)." Notebook groups are continuous (e.g. Book 1= pages 1-90, book 2= pages 91-200, etc.).
Along with being crucial for documenting the earliest drafts of Ondaatje's works, these notebooks were sometimes personalized by him. Several notebooks contain clippings pasted or taped inside and often include some sort of clipping and/or photograph (possibly taken by Ondaatje) on their covers. For preservation purposes, any clippings or sticky notes were photocopied and, unless they covered text, left in their original location. Any loose materials were re-housed in an archival file insert and their original location was marked.
As mentioned, there are often numerous drafts for several works. These drafts are ordered chronologically with most undated material gathered at the end. Any sticky notes were photocopied for preservation purposes and unless they covered (or damaged) text they were left in their original location.
A sizable component of each major work is the photocopies created from the notebooks. Created as backups to the potential loss of a notebook, they are crucial in capturing the early drafts because Ondaatje often pasted over notebook pages with fragments or removed pages entirely. In most cases, photocopies came in envelopes, which contained the date of the photocopy. In other cases, envelopes were sealed and opened by Ransom Center staff. Depending on the size of the envelope, some were kept with the original material and others were photocopied to capture any crucial information. Please note that Ondaatje's handwriting is particularly difficult to read, and it could require extra time to decipher for any handwritten material.
In 2000, Ondaatje published Anil's Ghost, his first novel in eight years. The novel focuses on Anil Tissera, a forensic anthropologist, and her journey to identify a body in Sri Lanka after a period of civic unrest marked by mass killings. The making of the novel involved numerous individuals from Sri Lanka, the United States, and Canada, which is reflected in the material. There are over twenty drafts, notes, and correspondence providing input on the novel from Manel Fonseka and Senake Bandaranayake, along with the Ondaatje's regular readers. There is also a sizeable amount of research material documenting human rights violations in Sri Lanka and forensic anthropology. Items include clippings/excerpts (mostly photocopies), serials, reports (mostly photocopies), and a small amount of publications. Additionally, most of the research material was loose and spread through a couple of boxes with few folders. Most of the material was kept as is, with some publications being separated for preservation purposes. Please note that a sizable portion of the material contains annotations by or comes directly from Manel Fonseka with other items from Clyde Snow and Senake Bandaranyake.
There are also two dictation tapes from Ondaatje. These items are digitized and available in the Harry Ransom Center Reading Room.
Published in 2002, The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film is focused on film editing and the career of Walter Murch, the film editor for The English Patient. The book originated from an interview conducted by Muriel "Aggie" Murch (wife of Walter Murch) between Ondaatje and Walter in 1996. Materials include typescripts, proofs, correspondence, and electronic media. There is also material documenting the selection of photographs used throughout the book and scene stills from Murch's editing filmography. There are also five cassette tapes—four between Murch and Ondaatje, and one with Francis Ford Coppola speaking about Murch. These items are digitized and available in the Harry Ransom Center Reading Room.
Divisadero, published in 2007, centers on a family in California over the course of three decades, and the materials fill eleven boxes. Materials include notebooks, handwritten notes, typescripts, research material, correspondence, and clippings. Ondaatje spent time in the San Francisco Bay area while writing the novel. As with much of the rest of the collection, Divisadero is ordered chronologically to showcase Ondaatje's writing process.
In 2011, Ondaatje's sixth novel, The Cat's Table, was published. Loosely modeled after Ondaatje's own experience, the novel tells the story of a young boy's journey from Ceylon to England. There is a large number of photocopies of the notebooks, which were typically copied before additional revisions were made to the notebooks. Other materials include ten complete drafts, proofs, correspondence, and ephemera from a 2009 voyage Ondaatje took during the research process.
The English Patient, Ondaatje's most renowned work to date, was published in September 1992. The novel was co-awarded the Man Booker Prize a month after its release, making Ondaatje the first Canadian author to win the award. The materials fill twenty-one document boxes and include research material (mostly photocopied articles/clippings), over fifteen complete drafts, editorial correspondence, and eight handwritten notebooks containing the earliest drafts of the novel. This portion of the collection also contains one dictation tape. Materials are in chronological order.
Published in 1998 and filling five manuscript boxes, Handwriting materials arrived with a large number of loose fragments (handwritten and typed), along with some typescripts, notes from trusted reviewers, proofs, and a diary used by Ondaatje in 1980. Due to the large amount of loose and undated fragments, those identifiable were grouped for better arrangement when appropriate. Other fragments had been stapled together (often in the middle of the pages) to form groupings. These groupings were retained after the removal of the staple to allow for better use. Most loose typescript fragments were retained in original groupings, as well. A number of the drafts were undated, but those with dates were ordered chronologically. Undated material was arranged into two sections—those with annotations and revisions by Ondaatje followed by any additional material from reviewers or unmarked drafts. Other items from Handwriting include page proofs and material regarding the parietal art featured on the title page.
Other items of interest include a folder of materials from the 1970 publication of The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (1970), some early drafts of Coming Through Slaughter (1976), and several drafts of In the Skin of a Lion. There are also two folders related to Ondaatje's poetry including drafts, postcards, and publications. Additionally, there is a small amount of material related to Ondaatje's work as an editor, including typescripts and correspondence for The Essential Tom Marshall, Faber Book of Canadian Short Stories, book covers, and two photocopied manuscripts from An H in the Heart: bpNichol (Barrie Phillip Nichol).
Subseries B. relates to adaptations of Ondaatje's work in the form of screenplays, film adaptations, and scripts. Several of Ondaatje's works have been subject to numerous adaptions, particularly in theatre. His most frequently adapted work is The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, which has been adapted in Canada, the United States, France, and Belgium. In the late 2010s, Ondaatje was also involved in an adaptation of Divisadero in a Toronto-based theatre. The film adaptation of The English Patient won nine Oscars in 1997.
Ondaatje attended the Canadian Film Centre in the early 1990s, and there is a very small amount of material related to his work in film. The Clinton Special includes photocopied clippings and a postcard. Captain Poetry is a documentary on bpNichol, a Canadian poet and friend of Ondaatje. Items include postcards and a handmade poster advertising a viewing. The William Dawe Badlands Expedition is an unproduced documentary and items include postcards, receipts, a notebook, publications, handwritten and typed notes, and materials related to an application for the Canada Council Aid to Artists.
Lastly, Other Writings includes book contributions, blurbs, speeches, lectures, writing notes, and jottings from Ondaatje. In most cases, items have been arranged alphabetically.
Series II: Correspondence consists of over thirty document boxes of material related to Ondaatje's personal and professional activities. There are three different subseries: A. Alphabetical Files, B. Business/General, and C. Chronological. There are also several Literary Files and correspondence from friends in Sri Lanka.
Subseries A. Alphabetical files of correspondence are divided into Canadian and International. Canadian files of correspondence include many notable Canadian writers including Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro. International files of correspondence include several notable people including Russell Banks, Juliette Binoche, and Don DeLillo, among others. Many of the letters are written to Ondaatje to express praise and admiration for his works and/or congratulations for awards received, especially the Booker Prize and the Oscar for the film version of The English Patient. Letters within the Alphabetical files are filed chronologically with undated items at the end.
Some of the files include outgoing letters from Ondaatje. More outgoing letters are located in the Ondaatje file and correspondents include Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, Scottish poet Sorley MacLean, American writer Toni Morrison, and Austrian writer Gregor von Rezzori, though many are addressed only to a first name and are not further identified. There are a few printed emails, but the majority are handwritten letters that were faxed. The outgoing correspondence is not ordered in any way within the folder, and most of it is undated. The correspondents for this subseries are indexed in the Index of Selected Correspondents at the end of the finding aid.
Subseries B. Business files includes a small amount of correspondence arranged as "business related," filed in about three boxes. The contents of these folders relate to professional activities and include contracts and speaking arrangements.
Subseries C. Chronological files primarily consist of business-related letters regarding readings and events, from publishers and agents, contracts, and royalty statements. Letters are occasionally annotated by Ondaatje, often with a simple checkmark or x. Other letters include fan mail and some personal correspondence. Any personal letters written by individuals in the Alphabetical Files were moved from Chronological to their file in the Alphabetical subseries. Letters were ordered chronologically, then alphabetically within each year, and not indexed.
Series III. Personal and Professional Papers consists of a wide variety of materials covering many subjects, including personal items (e.g. a wallet, address books, calendars, photographs, etc.). A portion of these items were not arranged in a particular order. A number of items included sticky notes to provide more context to the nature of the material.
There are several items documenting the daily and monthly activities of Ondaatje including address books, appointment books, and calendars. There are four complete address books and fragments from other books—all dated before 2002. These were heavily annotated and used by Ondaatje. There is one appointment book from 1980 to 1981 with fragments from other years—all dated before 2000. Lastly, there are sixteen calendars from 1979 to 2000, with varying degrees of use.
One lesser-known facet of Ondaatje's professional life is his interest in film. The Canadian Film Centre section contains materials related to Ondaatje's time as a student at the Canadian Film Centre during the early 1990s. Items include correspondence, press releases, schedules, the 1990 Centre Handbook, and a list of event screenings from 1994.
As a Canadian writer, Ondaatje has been involved in the Canadian literary scene since the early 1960s. Along with being friends with other writers, Ondaatje has served as editor for journals and books. Also included are materials related to Roy Kiyooka and Mavis Gallant. Additionally, there are a number of items related to bpNichol including material related to his death, funeral, and commemorative events on his 40th birthday in 1994. Any manuscript material written by other Canadian authors is located in the Works by Others—Canadian subseries.
Collected Materials relate to the personal activities, interests, and hobbies of Ondaatje. Items include visual materials, ephemera, catalogs, articles, and maps.
Well-documented in this series are Events Ondaatje attended in an official capacity. Dating from 1975 to 2015 in chronological order, is a sizeable amount of publicity materials, schedules, itineraries, correspondence, and ephemera documenting these events. Those with a sizeable amount of material include a trip to Russia Ondaatje took as part of a special envoy on behalf of the Canadian government and his time as a jury member for the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Those interested in a fuller picture of Ondaatje's professional engagements should also check out the Press and Publicity section.
The Interviews section relates to interviews Ondaatje participated in from 1975 to 2007. A bulk of the material are transcripts, with some correspondence, drafts, and proofs for publication. Of particular note is an interview Ondaatje did with Willem Dafoe some years after the release of The English Patient. The material is in chronological order.
The Family section contains a very small amount of personal material from those closest to Ondaatje. Individuals include his children, brother, wife, and one of his most frequent readers, David Young. Items include correspondence, press clippings, postcards, and a bracket created to predict the winners of the 1999 Oscar Awards, which includes many of Ondaatje's friends and family. Additionally, there are two folders related to Anthony Minghella regarding his passing including drafts of a eulogy given by Ondaatje at Minghella's funeral, correspondence from friends offering their condolences, and clippings. Another person featured is English writer John Berger. Items mostly include correspondence, with some manuscript material, photographs, and items related to the funeral of Berger's wife, Beverly. These materials are in alphabetical order by person.
The General section includes a variety of items including personal effects from the 1980s and 1990s. Items include a yearbook from Dulwich College, the school Ondaatje attended during his time in England, letters of reference for individuals applying for Guggenheim grants, a number of curricula vitae, and even a very small folder regarding pets. Among the personal effects, most are forms of identification (driver's license, a photocopy of Ondaatje's passport). The collection also contains a wallet. Business cards, small notes, etc., were removed from the wallet and rehoused for preservation purposes. There also appear to be several photocopies taken by Ondaatje himself of his face, feet, and hands.
One of the larger parts of the Personal and Professional series is the Literary Activities section. Generally, each grouping is in alphabetical order by organization name. This section documents Ondaatje's association with the Canadian literary scene and includes his involvement with Brick, Coach House Press, and the Griffin Poetry Prize. While not a complete archive of his time as editor of Brick, items include a financial ledger, several folders related to individual issues, cover proofs, issues, and correspondence. Another notable grouping is the material relating to Coach House Press. These folders largely include administrative documents such as minutes and agendas from the early 1990s. Other items include correspondence, notes, and some publicity materials.
Ondaatje was a longtime trustee of the Griffin Poetry Prize and now serves as a trustee emeritus. Materials for this section are arranged by board meeting, followed by any loose material. Board meetings are documented from 2000-2003, 2006-2007, and 2012. Items in these folders include minutes, agendas, reports, financial statements, and other administrative documents. Among the loose materials are items related to the 2013 Griffin Lifetime Poetry Award (given to Tomas Tranströmer).
Lastly, there are a small number of folders related to other small presses and organizations including The Malahat Review, Capilano Review, and the Writers' Union of Canada. There is also a small amount of material related to PEN Canada, including a draft letter written by Louise Dennys critical of an article written about Salman Rushdie during the days of the fatwa.
For many years, Ondaatje was a professor at Glendon College at York University while also continuing to pursue writing. Only after the publication of The English Patient did Ondaatje officially leave teaching. Materials from the Professorship subseries include items from his time at Glendon and the University of Hawaii. The Glendon materials include correspondence, application materials, curricula vitae, and an account statement. During the early 1980s, Ondaatje was a visiting instructor at the University of Hawaii, and items related to this time include correspondence, application and employee materials, and an agreement booklet.
Among the other materials are project proposals and correspondence, with some typescripts/scripts and press materials, related to Projects Ondaatje was involved in or proposals sent to him. One of the more long-lasting projects is the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Items for this particular project include a number of resumes/CVs from potential protégés, agendas, profiles, and correspondence.
A small number of Notebooks are also present in the collection and are in chronological order. Of particular note is a notebook from the 1960s about bpNichol and one from the late 1980s to early 1990s about The English Patient.
There is a large amount of Press and Publicity material, including clippings, dossiers, posters, publisher material, and printed material all related to Ondaatje or about his works. These items are arranged by format and then ordered chronologically with undated material at the end of each section. Those interested in learning about Ondaatje's professional activities should also look at the Events subseries and the Serials and Publications subseries.
The Research subseries contains a small amount of general research material, which mostly consists of photocopied clippings and excerpts. Of interest is the 'Research for a Book Never Done' file, which mostly consists of photocopied clippings and excerpts. Folders are ordered chronologically by the date present on the photocopied material.
The last subseries is related to Sri Lanka. Born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Ondaatje has maintained both personal and professional connections to his native homeland. This includes a segment of research about Sri Lankan architecture. Ondaatje has been asked to provide pieces for a couple of books including the 2015 publication, The Architectural Heritage of Sri Lanka: Measured Drawings by the Anjalendran Studio.
Another portion of the Sri Lanka subseries includes items about the Gratiaen Prize. As previously noted, this prize was created by Ondaatje using funds he received from winning the Booker Prize. Items mostly date from the early days of the award and include correspondence, speeches, and programs. There is also correspondence from close friends in Sri Lanka in the Anil's Ghost material and in the Correspondence series.
Series IV. Works by Others was subdivided into two sections—Canadian and International. Within these sections, materials are ordered alphabetically by the writer. A vast majority of items include typescripts and correspondence, with some published material. Most of the material is not annotated or revised by Ondaatje.
Series V. Serials and Publications consists of journals and magazines; most of which feature Ondaatje and/or his work. Included in this series are journals, many from independent or small presses, that feature Ondaatje's first published poems. Titles include The Mitre (published by Bishop's University), Quarry, The Fiddlehead, Prism International, Wire by Ken West, and others. Issues have been arranged in chronological order.

Related Material

For additional materials related to Michael Ondaatje at the Ransom Center, see manuscript holdings for: Michael Ondaatje Collection (HRC).
Materials related to Ondaatje's early works (pre-The English Patient) were gifted to the Library and Archives Canada, located in Ottawa, Canada, during the 1980s, with a final accession in 1993. Use of this collection requires written permission from Ondaatje.

Separated Material

The following materials were transferred for specialized housing or description:
Publications and published media owned by Michael Ondaatje were transferred to the Ransom Center Library.
Personal effects were transferred to the Center's Costume and Personal Effects Collection.
Unpublished, non-commercial audio recordings were transferred to the Center's Sound Recordings Collection.
Unpublished, non-commercial moving image material was transferred to the Center's Moving Image Collection.
Electronic media were transferred to the Center's Electronic Records Collection.

Index Terms


Ondaatje, Michael, 1943-


Canadian literature.
Sri Lanka.

Document Types

Electronic documents.

Container List