John Ralston Saul was born in Ottawa on June 19, 1947. He was raised in Alberta, Manitoba and Ottawa. He graduated from McGill University with an Honours B.A. in 1969, and a Ph.D. from King's College in London in 1972. From 1972-75, he was the Director of an investment company in Paris. He was assistant to chairman of Petro-Canada from its inception in Calgary from 1976-78, and Toronto from 1978-82. He spent extended periods in North Africa and the Far East. From 1982-86, Saul lived in Paris before moving to Toronto, where he resided from 1986-92. He was President of the Canadian Centre of International PEN from 1990-92. He was also the founding member of the Common Agenda Alliance for the Arts, and a member of Comité d'Honnuer, Rencontre Québécoise Internationale des Ecrivains. Named by the Utre Reader as part of the "100 Visionaries of the World" in 1995, Saul was also named by the government of France as a Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des lettres in 1996. He is fluent in French and English.