Michael Ondaatje and Sir Christopher Ondaatje

Sri Lanka born writer Michael Ondaatje was related to Vernon Corea through marriage. His sister Gillian was married to Vernon's cousin Nihal Corea in Colombo.

Sri Lanka born writer Michael Ondaatje was related to Vernon Corea through marriage. His sister Gillian was married to Vernon’s cousin Nihal Corea in Colombo.(Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia)

The brothers Michael Ondaatje and Christopher Ondaatje are two of Sri Lanka’s famous sons. They are related to the Radio Ceylon/SLBC broadcaster Vernon Corea through marriage. Michael and Christopher’s sister Gillian was at one time married to Vernon’s cousin Nihal Corea who is the brother of Former Deputy Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka and MP for Chilaw, Harindra Corea.

Philip Michael Ondaatje, OC, was born on September 12, 1943, he 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. Michael Ondaatje keeps his connection with the wider Corea Family alive by naming a character in his book ‘Anil’s Ghost,’ called Dr.Corea. He also dedicates the book to his sister Gillian. Vernon Corea’s son, Ivan met Michael Ondaatje in London in 2001 when Michael had just published ‘Anil’s Ghost.’

Books by Michael Ondaatje:


1976: Coming Through Slaughter, Toronto: Anansi ISBN 0-393-08765-4 ; New York: W. W. Norton, 1977
1987: In the Skin of a Lion, New York: Knopf, ISBN 0-394-56363-8, ISBN 0-14-011309-6
1992: The English Patient, New York: Knopf, ISBN 0-679-41678-1, ISBN 0-679-74520-3
2000: Anil’s Ghost, New York: Knopf, ISBN 0-375-41053-8
2007: Divisadero, ISBN 0-307-26635-4 ISBN 9780307266354
2011: The Cat’s Table, ISBN 978-0-7710-6864-5, ISBN 0-7710-6864-6

Poetry collections

1962: Social Call, The Love Story, In Search of Happiness, all featured in The Mitre: Lennoxville: Bishop University Press
1967: The Dainty Monsters, Toronto: Coach House Press
1969: The Man with Seven Toes, Toronto: Coach House Press
1970: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left-handed Poems, Toronto: Anansi ISBN 0-88784-018-3 ; 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 ISBN 0-393-01191-7, ISBN 0-393-02100-X
published as Rat Jelly, and Other Poems, 1963-1978, London, United Kingdom: Marion Boyars, 1980
1984: Secular Love, Toronto: Coach House Press, ISBN 0-88910-288-0, ISBN 0-393-01991-8 ; New York: W. W. Norton, 1985
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 ISBN 0-375-40559-3
2006: The Story, Toronto: House of Anansi, ISBN 0-88784-194-5

1971: The Broken Ark, animal verse; Ottawa: Oberon; revised as A Book of Beasts, 1979 ISBN 0-88750-050-1
1977: Personal Fictions: Stories by Munro, Wiebe, Thomas, and Blaise, Toronto: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-540277-4
1979: A Book of Beasts, animal verse; Ottawa: Oberon; revision of The Broken Ark, 1971
1979: The Long Poem Anthology, Toronto: Coach House ISBN 0-88910-177-9
1989: With Russell Banks and David Young, Brushes with Greatness: An Anthology of Chance Encounters with Greatness, Toronto: Coach House, 1989
1989: Edited with Linda Spalding, The Brick Anthology, illustrated by David Bolduc, Toronto: Coach House Press
1990: From Ink Lake: An Anthology of Canadian Short Stories; New York: Viking ISBN 0-394-28138-1
1990: The Faber Book of Contemporary Canadian Short Stories; London, United Kingdom: Faber
2000: Edited with Michael Redhill, Esta Spalding and Linda Spalding, Lost Classics, Toronto: Knopf Canada ISBN 0-676-97299-3 ; New York: Anchor, 2001
2002: Edited and wrote introduction, Mavis Gallant, Paris Stories, New York: New York Review Books

Other Books by Michael Ondaatje:

1970: Leonard Cohen (literary criticism), Toronto: McClelland & Stewart
1973: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (play; based on his poetry; produced in Stratford, Ontario produced in New York, 1974; produced in London, England, 1984
1979: Claude Glass (literary criticism), Toronto: Coach House Press
1980: Coming through Slaughter, first produced in Toronto
1982: Running in the Family, memoir, New York: W. W. Norton, ISBN 0-393-01637-4, ISBN 0-7710-6884-0
1982: Tin Roof, British Columbia, Canada: Island, ISBN 0-919479-10-3, ISBN 0-919479-93-6
1987: In the Skin of a Lion (based on his novel), New York: Knopf
1994: Edited with B. P. Nichol and George Bowering, An H in the Heart: A Reader, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart
1996: Wrote introduction, Anthony Minghella, adaptor, The English Patient: A Screenplay, New York: Hyperion Miramax
2002: The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, New York: Knopf ISBN 0-676-97474-0
2002: Films by Michael Ondaatje
2004: Vintage Ondaatje, ISBN 1-4000-7744-3

The Radio Ceylon Handbook of 1960 - The Programme Organiser of the English Service, Pearl Ondaatje directing a play from a Radio Ceylon studio.

The Radio Ceylon Handbook of 1963 – The Programme Organiser of the English Service, Pearl Ondaatje directing a play from a Radio Ceylon studio.

Their aunt, Pearl Ondaatje was Vernon’s colleague in Radio Ceylon in the 1950s and 1960s. She too was part of the Radio Ceylon success story in South Asia. At the time Clifford Dodd who was sent to Ceylon from Australia under the Colombo Plan was Director of the Commercial Service of Radio Ceylon.

Sir Christopher Ondaatje

Sir Christopher Ondaatje

Sir Christopher Ondaatje (Photograph courtesy of Ondaatje.com)

Vernon enjoyed reading Christopher Ondaatje's book - The Man Eater of Punanai published in 1992.

Vernon enjoyed reading Christopher Ondaatje’s book – The Man Eater of Punanai published in 1992.

Sir Philip Christopher Ondaatje OC, CBE (born February 22, 1933) is a Sri Lankan born Canadian-English businessman, philanthropist, adventurer, writer and bob-sledding Olympian for Canada. Ondaatje is the older brother of author Michael Ondaatje and lives between Chester, Nova Scotia and the United Kingdom.He moved to Britain and began a career as a philanthropist and adventurer. Travelling through India and Africa, he also became an author, following in the footsteps of his younger brother Michael Ondaatje, a world-renowned novelist. His books describe his travels and adventures.His recent book Hemingway in Africa details his thesis regarding the life and motivations of Ernest Hemingway. Ondaatje was made a Knight Bachelor by the Queen in 2003 for his philanthropic work. He was also made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Senior Fellow of Massey College. In 2011, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2003. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Publications of Sir Christopher Ondaatje:

Olympic victory: The story behind the Canadian Bob-Sled Club’s incredible victory at the 1964 Winter Olympic Games (1967)
The Prime Ministers of Canada, 1867–1967 (1968)
Leopard in the Afternoon — An Africa Tenting Safari (1989)
The Man-eater of Punanai — a Journey of Discovery to the Jungles of Old Ceylon (1992)
Sindh Revisited: A Journey in the Footsteps of Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton (1996)
Journey to the Source of the Nile (1999)
Hemingway in Africa: The Last Safari (2004)
Woolf in Ceylon: An Imperial Journey in the Shadow of Leonard Woolf, 1904–1911 (2005)
The Power of Paper: A History, a Financial Adventure and a Warning (2007)
The Glenthorne Cat and other amazing leopard stories (2008)
The Last Colonial: Curious Adventures & Stories from a Vanishing World (2011)


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