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VIDEO: Giller contender Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje discusses the autobiographical elements of his book The Cat's Table and why each book is a new country.
Michael Ondaatje discusses the autobiographical elements of his book The Cat's Table and why each book is a new country. 4:01

Six Canadian authors are in the running for the 2011 Giller Prize, with one writer set to receive the coveted trophy and $50,000 at a glitzy gala in Toronto on Nov. 8.

Interviews: Giller finalists

Founded by Jack Rabinovitch in 1994 in memory of his late, literary journalist wife Doris Giller, the annual award has become one of the country’s most prominent and lucrative fiction-writing honours.

Veteran Toronto author Michael Ondaatje is a Giller contender for his latest novel, The Cat's Table. Set in the 1950s, the book follows a passenger ship's journey to England, passing through Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean — as seen through the eyes of an 11-year-old narrator.

In the video above, Ondaatje says that, despite its autobiographical elements, his novel is fictional. He says writing each of his books is like embarking on a new adventure and a new country.