Celebrated fiction writer and poet Michael Ondaatje, winner of the British Commonwealth’s highest literary award, the Booker Prize, is this year’s Joan Jakobson Visiting Writer.
Ondaatje will read from his prose at 8 p.m. Nov. 5 in Memorial Chapel. The event is free of charge and open to the public.
“Michael Ondaatje’s works are haunting, seductive stories and his prose is stunning,” says Anne Greene, director of writing programs. “This is a rare chance to hear Ondaatje’s own voice.”
Born in Sri Lanka of Indian/Dutch ancestry, Ondaatje went to school in England and then moved to Canada. Among his best-known works are the novel The English Patient, which was made into an award-winning feature film, and a novel set in Sri Lanka, Anil’s Ghost, which received world-wide acclaim, winning France’s Prix Medicis, Canada’s Governor-General’s Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize.
His other work includes the memoir Running in the Family, and the novels In the Skin of a Lion, Coming Through Slaughter and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. He is also the author of four collections of poetry including The Cinnamon Peeler and most recently, Handwriting. His most recent novel, Divisadero, was published in 2007.
Ondaatje’s reading will be followed by author’s remarks, a question and answer session and a book signing.
Wesleyan alumni are invited to attend a dinner with Ondaatje and the Jakobson family before the event. Seating is limited and available through Anne Green at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to his reading, Ondaatje will host a discussion with students from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 5 in Downey 113.
Ondaatje’s visit is organized by the Wesleyan Writing Program and the Joan Jakobson Fund. The event is part of the 2008-09 Russell House Series of Distinguished Writers.
For more information, contact Lucia Pier, Russell House Arts Fellow, at 860-685-3448 or through e-mail at email@example.com.