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John Ralston Saul is an award-winning Canadian essayist and novelist who has shaped political and economic thought around the world: his critical and creative works have been translated into 22 languages in 30 countries. TIME Magazine has hailed Saul as a “prophet,” and he is included in the prestigious Utne Reader’s list of the world’s 100 leading thinkers and visionaries.
At Ryerson, Saul will help provide leadership in pioneering an annual John Ralston Saul Big Ideas public discussion series, and will interact with the student body at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Saul is perhaps best known for his philosophical trilogy – Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, The Doubter’s Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense, and The Unconscious Civilization. These volumes explore such issues as individualism, reason, and corporatism.
In addition to his 11 works of non-fiction, Saul has published 6 novels including The Paradise Eater, which won Italy’s Premio Lettarario Internazionale.
A long-time champion of freedom of expression, Saul has also spoken in favour of public education as well as preserving and protecting endangered languages and cultures. His writing has been recognized with many national and international awards including the Pablo Neruda Medal, South Korea’s Manhae Grand Prize for Literature and The Gutenberg Galaxy Award for Literature. The Unconscious Civilization won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, as well as the Gordon Montador Award for Best Canadian Book on Social Issues. Reflections of a Siamese Twin was chosen by Maclean’s magazine as one of the ten best non-fiction books of the twentieth century.
Saul serves as President of PEN International, a global community of writers that celebrates literature and promotes freedom of expression. He was appointed as the President of PEN in 2009. He completed his doctoral studies – an examination of the modernization of France – at King’s College, University of London in 1972.