PARIS – My article with Michel Onfray, which received several rejections before being published in the top selling Toronto Star newspaper as the lead story to its Sunday Insight section in December 2006, was one of the most fun stories I ever got to write. Attending Onfray’s “popular university,” and then returning to his home to talk to him with his professors, and meeting his parents and seeing the town where he lived, it was all a great moment with one of my favorite French authors.
That the story was rejected several times hurt at first, but the payoff in The Star was more than worth the wait. It also ended up being the biggest article about Onfray in the major English-language media to that date, coming out a couple of months before his book on atheism became his first major English translation published in the United States. He was soon to be written about extensively, and I recall seeing one interesting portrait even in the Wall Street Journal.
For me, this Onfray article was another of the stories in what I was hoping would be a series about popular philosophical writers, the first being that on Colin Wilson, that turned into a book. Alas, I did not continue the series…. But maybe I will return to it some day….