Sir Christopher Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka, educated in England and built a successful career in finance and publishing in Canada. In the early nineties he sold all his business interests and retuned to writing where he himself has broken new ground as a respected book reviewer and a writer of thought-provoking books dealing with significant biographical, historical and geographical events.
Since 1995 Ondaatje has devoted his time to travelling, writing, and administering The Ondaatje Foundation. He is a life patron of the National Portrait Gallery where the Ondaatje Wing is named after him. The Ondaatje Theatre at The Royal Geographical Society; and The Ondaatje Prize at both The Royal Society of Literature and The Royal Society of Portrait Painters are other major benefactions. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in June 2000, and awarded a Knighthood in the Queen's honours list, June 2003.