|Born||June 25, 1963
|Alma mater||Trent University|
|Notable works||Life of Pi|
|Relatives||Émile Martel, father|
Yann Martel (born 1963) is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, a #1 international bestseller published in more than 50 territories. It has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and spent more than a year on the New York Times Bestseller list. It was adapted to the screen by Ang Lee.
Martel is also the author of the novels Beatrice and Virgil and Self, the collection of stories The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, and a collection of letters to the prime minister of Canada, 101 Letters to a Prime Minister. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
He has won a number of literary prizes, including the 2001 Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and the 2002 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. He was also the first Canadian to represent the Washington Arts Commission.
Although his first language is French, Yann Martel writes in English: "English is the language in which I best express the subtlety of life. But I must say that French is the language closest to my heart. And for this same reason, English gives me a sufficient distance to write."
Martel, the son of Nicole Perron and Émile Martel, was born in Salamanca, Spain. His parents were French-speaking Quebecers. His father was posted as a diplomat for the Canadian government at the time of his birth. His mother was a literary translator. He was raised in Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Alaska and Canada. As an adolescent he attended high school at Ridgemont High School in Ottawa Ontario.
As an adult, Martel has spent time in Iran, Turkey and India. After studying philosophy at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Martel spent 13 months in India visiting mosques, churches, temples and zoos, and spent two years reading religious texts and castaway stories. He now lives in Saskatoon, Canada. His first published fictional work, Seven Stories, appeared in 1993.
In 2001, he published the novel Life of Pi, his fourth book, 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 was inspired to write a story about sharing a lifeboat with a large cat after reading a review of the novella Max and the Cats by Brazilian author Moacyr Scliar. Martel received some criticism for failing to consult with Scliar  and by Scliar himself for the way he initially responded to the criticism.
Martel was the Samuel Fischer Visiting Professor at the Institute of Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin in 2002, where he created a curriculum that focused on "The Animal in Literature". He then spent a year in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 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 Toronto, 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.
His novel Beatrice and Virgil (2010) deals with the Holocaust: its main characters are two stuffed animals (a monkey and a donkey), along with several other animals depicted in a taxidermy shop. Martel describes them as simply two approaches to the same subject.
From 2007 to 2011, Martel worked on a project entitled What is Stephen Harper Reading? Every two weeks, he sent the Prime Minister of Canada one book that portrays "stillness," with an accompanying explanatory note. He posted his letters, book selections, and responses received to a website devoted to the project. A book-length account of the project was published in the fall of 2009. Martel ended the project in February 2011, after sending Harper a total of 100 books. The Polish magazine Histmag cited him as the inspiration behind their giving of books to the Prime Minister Donald Tusk, however, this was a one-off with only 10 books involved, which had been donated by their publishers and selected by readers of the magazine. Tusk reacted very positively.
- Seven Stories (1993)
- The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios (1993)
- Self (1996)
- Life of Pi (2001)
- We Ate the Children Last (2004)
- Teaching Yann Martel's Life of Pi from Multiple Critical Perspectives (2007)
- Beatrice and Virgil (2010)
- Short story The Vita Aeterna Mirror Company in The Secret History of Fantasy, edited by Peter S. Beagle (2010)
- 101 Letters to a Prime Minister: The Complete Letters to Stephen Harper (2012)
- The first 55 book suggestions are available as What is Stephen Harper Reading? (2009)
- The High Mountains of Portugal (2016)
Awards and accolades
Beatrice and Virgil
- New York Times Bestseller 2010
- Boston Globe Bestseller
- L.A. Times Bestseller
- Minneapolis Star Tribune Bestseller
- National #1 Bestseller in Maclean’s
- #1 Bestseller in The Toronto Star
- Longlisted for The 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
- Financial Times 2010 Fiction of the Year
Life of Pi
- Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction
- Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature 2002
- Winner of the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction 2001
- Winner of The Boeke Prize 2003 (South Africa)
- Winner of the Deutscher Bücherpreis 2004
- Winner of the La Presse Prix du Grand Public 2003
- Winner in the Scene It Read It category of the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 2014
- A Quill & Quire Best Book of 2001
"The Facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios" (short story)
- Winner of the 1991 Journey Prize
- Self, to be directed by Randall Wallace, set to be released by Sony Pictures Entertainment on March 12, 2015.
- Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee in 2012. Martel makes a brief appearance as an extra, sitting on a park bench across a pond while Irrfan Khan (Pi) and Rafe Spall (playing Yann Martel) converse.
- We Ate the Children Last was adapted as an independent film.
- Manners of Dying, directed by Jeremy Peter Allen in 2004.
- The Facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios
- Beatrice and Virgil, adapted by Lindsay Cochrane and directed by Sarah Garton Stanley at the Factory Theatre, Toronto in 2013.
- The Facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios
Martel has said in a number of interviews that Dante's Divine Comedy is the single most impressive book he has ever read. In talking about his most memorable childhood book, he recalls Le Petit Chose by Alphonse Daudet. He said that he read it when he was ten years old, and it was the first time he found a book so heartbreaking that it moved him to tears.
- Dunn, Jennifer (March 1, 2003). "Tigers and Tall Tales". The Oxonian Review (University of Oxford) (2.2). Retrieved February 3, 2011.
- "Life of Pi". Man Booker Prize. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
- Kipen, David (October 23, 2002). "Canadian wins Booker Prize / 'Life of Pi' is tale of a boy who floats across the ocean from India". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- Reynolds, Nigel (September 30, 2002). "Life of Pi wins Booker". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 3 September 2010.
- Wiki List of Bestselling Books. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
- Ang Lee wins best director Oscar for Life of Pi. The Guardian online. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Hiscock, John (December 19, 2012). "Ang Lee, interview: how he filmed the unfilmable for Life of Pi". The Telegraph. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
- Barber, John. "Martel's post-modern Holocaust allegory fetches $3-million advance", The Globe and Mail, April 6, 2010.
- Woog, Adam. 'Beatrice and Virgil': Yann Martel's haunting fable of humans, animals and violence, The Seattle Times, April 17, 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- Wyndham, Susan. Books To Watch in 2010, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 9, 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- "Martel protests level of arts funding by sending PM books". Saskatoon Star Phoenix. April 17, 2002. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- "6 compete for first novel award". Toronto Star. March 28, 1997.
- Marchand, Philip (May 4, 1996). "An unforgettable exploration of a self". Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- Saskatoon Public Library, Collections Connections. Saskatoon Public Library site. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
- Winner of The Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction 2001. QWF Literary Database of Quebec English-Language Authors. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- 2001-2003 Asian Pacific American Awards for Literature. Cooperative Children's Book Centre, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Yann Martel Bio. Last FM. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Quoterature. Quoterature, Martel entry. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Google Books, Twenty-first-century Canadian writers
- Brown, Mick (June 1, 2010). Yann Martel: in search of understanding. The Telegraph. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Notable Alumni. TCS Ontario. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- "Mann Booker Prize Winner and Author of Life of Pi Yann Martel Returns to Trent on March 31" (Press release). March 28, 2006. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- Hannon, Gerald (May, 2010). Life after Pi. Quill and Quire. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Life of Pi was defended by Nancy Lee on Canada Reads 2003. CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation): Books. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Radio-Canada: Le Combat des livres 2004. Canada Reads, Wikipedia. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- "Booker winner in plagiarism row". The Guardian. November 2002. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- "Autor de 'As Aventuras de Pi' é suspeito de plagiar brasileiro (portuguese)". Folha de S.Paulo. January 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
- Tomas Venclova Is Latest Samuel Fischer Visiting Professor at Freie Universität Berlin. Freie Universität Berlin Presse. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Writers in Residence at Saskatoon Public Library, 1981 – 2013. Saskatoon Public Library: Collections, Connections. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- ARC Premieres New Work in Europe. The Royal Conservatory, Canada, News Release, October 28, 2004. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- ARC Ensemble: Recordings, Concert Excerpts. ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory) Recordings. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- "Yann Martel Appointed as a Visiting Scholar in English". University of Saskatchewan. November 2005. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
- Malla, Pasha (April 9, 2010)."Fiction, or is it?". The Globe & Mail, Canada, April 9, 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- "Yann Martel closes book on Harper reading club". CBC News. February 2, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
- "Premier odebrał książki od internautów!". Histmag. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- Best Sellers, The New York Times, May 2, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Best Sellers, Boston Globe. Boston.com, Off The Shelf, 23 April 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- Best Sellers, Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2010. Retrieve January 14, 2015.
- Local Best Sellers, Star Tribune, May 2, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Macleans Best Sellers. Macleans online, Week of June 14, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Wagner, Vit (April 7, 2010). "Life of Pi writer Yann Martel returns with new book". TheStar.com, Entertainment / Books, April 7, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Long List 2012. International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Blau, Rosie (December 3, 2010). FT Fiction Round-up 2010. FT.com, Fiction Round-up 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- Life of Pi Wins 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. American Booksellers Association, Bookselling This Week. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
- Scott, Catherine (February 25, 2013). Life of Pi A Book in Numbers. The Telegraph. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- Deutscher Bücherpreis List of Winners. Wikipedia die freie Enzyklopaedie. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- Life Of Pi entry. Bibliothèque Gallimard Jeunesse - Livres. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
- Life Of Pi entry. Les Éditions XYZ Catalogue. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- Scene It Read It - Life Of Pi. Coventry City Council site. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- Quill & Quire Best Books 2001. Quill & Quire, Canada Books. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- Life of Pi at IMDB. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- Barber, John (January 14, 2013). "Life after Pi: How Yann Martel's moved on from his book and Oscar-worthy film". The Globe & Mail online. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- Medley, Mark (November 21, 2012). Life of Pi author Yann Martel: “Overall, I think it’s a wonderful companion piece”. National Post online. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- Lederhouse, Craig (July 30, 2012). Yann Martel on the Life of Pi trailer. CBC Books, First aired on The Afternoon Edition (26/7/12). Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- Yann Martel Author Bio. Nashville Reads. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Manners of Dying at IMDB. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Beatrice and Virgil at the Facotry Theatre. Factory Theatre, April 12 - May 11, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Exclusive Interview - Life of Yann Martel. Abe Books. Retrieved 2013.
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- Yann Martel at British Council: Literature
- Yann Martel's entry in The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Yann Martel bio
- Works by Yann Martel at Open Library
- Canongate Author Profile for Yann Martel
- Fischer Verlage Publishing, Germany, Author Profile for Yann Martel
- Harper Collins, Author Profile of Yann Martel
- Yann Martel Twitter
- Yann Martel Facebook page
- Yann Martel Goodreads entry
- Life Of Pi Author's New Book Asks What Happened - audio report by NPR
- Life Of Pi - Official Trailer, YouTube