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Yann Martel (born June 25, 1963) is a Spanishmarker-born Canadianmarker author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi.

Early life

Martel was born in Salamancamarker, Spainmarker. As an adolescent he attended high school at Trinity College School, a boarding school in Port Hope, Ontario, where he honed his early skills in writing. He grew up in Costa Ricamarker, Francemarker, Mexicomarker, and Canadamarker. As an adult, Martel has travelled the globe, spending time in Iranmarker, Turkeymarker and Indiamarker. After studying philosophy at Trent Universitymarker in Peterborough, Ontariomarker, Martel spent 13 months in Indiamarker visiting temples, churches, mosques and zoos, and then two years reading religious texts and castaway stories. His first published fictional work, Seven Stories, appeared in 1993 .


In 2001, he published Life of Pi, which was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2002. Life of Pi was later chosen for the 2003 edition of CBC Radio's Canada Reads competition, where it was championed by author Nancy Lee. In addition, its French translation, Histoire de Pi, was included in the French version of the competition, Le combat des livres, in 2004, championed by singer Louise Forestier.

Martel spent a year in Saskatoonmarker, Saskatchewanmarker from September 2003 as the public library's writer-in-residence. He collaborated with Omar Daniel, composer-in-residence at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Torontomarker, on a piece for piano, string quartet and bass. The composition, You Are Where You Are, is based on text written by Martel, which includes parts of cellphone conversations taken from moments in an ordinary day.

In November 2005, the University of Saskatchewanmarker announced that Martel would be scholar-in-residence. He continues to have an office at the University.

His upcoming novel, Beatrice and Virgil, will deal with the Holocaust: it will take place between two talking animals (a monkey and a donkey) on a man's dress shirt. It will be published simultaneously with an essay on the same subject, also under the same name. Martel cited them as simply two approaches to the same subject. He claims it will be a philosophical work, essentially just "one long conversation". He is also working on a project entitled What is Stephen Harper Reading, where he is sending the Prime Minister of Canada one book every two weeks that portrays "stillness" with an accompanying explanatory note. He is posting his letters, book selection and any responses to the website devoted to the project. A book-length account of the project was published in the fall of 2009.

Literary awards


Martel has stated publicly in a number of interviews that Dante's Divine Comedy is "the single most impressive book [he has] ever read. Martel's love for reading extends as far back as his childhood. In talking about his most memorable childhood book, he recalls Le Petit Chose by Alphonse Daudet (also known as "the French Dickens"), saying that he was ten years old when he had read it and was so moved that it was the first time he had found a book so heartbreaking that it moved him to tears.


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