Geoffrey Taylor, the director of the Toronto Harbourfront International Festival of Authors, has been bestowed with a particularly prestigious international honour. Taylor has been named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France. Awarded three times each year, the recognition is given to people who have distinguished themselves in the area of arts and letters, with a specific focus on contributions to French culture.
As director of the annual IFOA, Taylor has been responsible for bringing writers and other cultural ambassadors from France and around the world to appear each October at the Toronto festival.
“It is truly incredible to be recognized by the Republic of France for my contributions to the world of literature,” says Taylor. “I am honoured that my name will be listed amongst so many of those I admire who have already received this distinction.”
Charles Baillie, IFOA president, says, “An international acknowledgement of this stature helps draw awareness to the extraordinary work Geoffrey, as director of the International Festival of Authors, has undertaken in Canada and abroad to promote culture and the arts.”
Canadian writers who have been named Chevaliers include Margaret Atwood, John Ralston Saul, and Jane Urquhart. Taylor joins international authors such as Elif Safak, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, and William S. Burroughs.
A ceremony to award the medal will take place on Oct. 24, fittingly right in the middle of this year’s IFOA.