|Ondaatje was born in Ceylon into a family of mixed Dutch, English, Sinhalese and Tamil background. When he was 5, his mother left his alcoholic father, and a few years later emigrated to England, where Ondaatje finished his education. He became a Canadian citizen and, in addition to writing poetry, fiction, and memoirs, he has edited (with his wife) the literary magazine Brick. His most famous work, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, was awarded the 1992 Booker Prize, and the movie version won several Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
|"The best thing I did was to go to graduate school at Harvard," Pico Iyer once told Scott London, because that was where he received his training for a now-solid travel writing career--as a student writer for Let's Go! Thus employed by Harvard Student Agencies for two summers, Iyer wrote up exotic places for the budget traveler on little money and little sleep. He then put his skills to work for Time Magazine before taking off, in the 1980s, to pen his own travel books and essays. Born to Indian parents, raised in California, and educated at Eton and Oxford (before Harvard), Iyer describes himself a homeless wanderer of the ever-growing global village. His books, VIDEO NIGHT IN KATHMANDU, TROPICAL CLASSICAL, and THE GLOBAL SOUL among them, are a testament to this status as well as to his ability to give a modern spin to travel writing.