Jul 27, 2018
John Ralston Saul was elected President of International PEN in October 2009 (his term ended in 2015).
His award-winning essays and novels have had an impact on political and economic thought in many countries. Declared a “prophet” by TIME magazine, he is included in the prestigious Utne Reader’s list of the world’s 100 leading thinkers and visionaries. His works have been translated into 22 languages in 30 countries.
He has received many national and international awards for his writing, most recently South Korea's Manhae Grand Prize for Literature. He has published (at least) five novels, and is General Editor of the Penguin Extraordinary Canadians project, a series of 17 biographies that reinterprets important Canadian figures for a contemporary audience by pairing well-known Canadian writers with significant historical, political and artistic figures from 1850 onwards. Born in Ottawa, Saul studied at McGill University and King's College, University of London, where he obtained his PhD in 1972.
We met in Ottawa in a noisy now defunct bookstore to discuss his editing of the Extraordinary Canadians series, and his authoring of Lafontaine and Baldwin.