Mavis Gallant was born in Montreal, Canada on August 11, 1922. Her parents sent her to live at a French convent when she was 4. When she was 10, her father died from kidney disease. Her mother quickly remarried and moved to New York - leaving her daughter behind. During World War II, Gallant worked in the cutting room at the National Film Board of Canada and as a reporter for the Montreal Standard. She eventually became a columnist and feature writer. Two of her short stories appeared in the December, 1944, issue of Preview. She published more than 100 stories in The New Yorker beginning in 1951. During her lifetime, she wrote two novels and several short story collections. Her works include Green Water, Green Sky; A Fairly Good Time; Overhead in a Balloon; Across the Bridge; The Pegnitz Junction; Paris Stories; and The Cost of Living. She received several awards including the Governor-General's Award for Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories, the Pen Nabokov Award for career achievement, the Matt Cohen Prize in 2000, and the Rea Award for the Short Story in 2002. In 1981, she was made Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to literature that year. She died on February 18, 2014 at the age 91.
Michael Ondaatje was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on September 12, 1943. He moved to Canada in 1962. He received a B.A. from the University of Toronto and a M.A. from Queen's University, Kingston, and teaches English at York University. He has written several volumes of poetry, novels, and other works including There's a Trick with a Knife I'm Learning to Do, The Dainty Monsters, Rat Jelly, Coming through Slaughter, Running in the Family, In the Skin of a Lion, Anil's Ghost, and The Cat's Table. He has won numerous awards including the Canadian Governor General's Award in 1971 for The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and the Booker Prize for Fiction for The English Patient, which was adapted into a film.