Michael Ondaatje with Carolyn Forché


photo of Michael Ondaatje with Carolyn Forché
Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje, poet, novelist, and noted editor and filmmaker, was born in Sri Lanka in 1943, spent his teenage years in England, and moved to Canada in 1962 where he graduated from the University...

Michael Ondaatje full bio


photo of Michael Ondaatje with Carolyn Forché
Carolyn Forché

Carolyn Forché was born in Detroit in 1950 and is the author of four books of poetry, the first of which, Gathering the Tribes (1976), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. The Country...

Carolyn Forché full bio


About this Event

Here is an excerpt reprinted from the book jacket of The Cat’s Table:

the cats table by michael ondaatjeIn the early 1950’s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England — a ‘castle that was to cross the sea’. At mealtimes, he is placed at the lowly ‘Cat’s Table’ with an eccentric group of grown-ups and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys become involved in the worlds and stories of the adults around them, tumbling from one adventure and delicious discovery to another, ‘bursting all over the place like freed mercury’. And at night, the boys spy on a shackled prisoner — his crime and fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them for ever. The Cat’s Table is a vivid, poignant and thrilling book, full of Ondaatje’s trademark set-pieces and breathtaking images: a story told with a child’s sense of wonder by a novelist at the very height of his powers.

Photos from this event are available on Flickr.


Audio from this Event

Michael Ondaatje read from his work, then joined in conversation with Carolyn Forche. | Duration: 1:31:14

Video from this Event

Michael Ondaatje, introduced by Carolyn Forche, read from his work.

Michael Ondaatje in conversation with Carolyn Forche.


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