US writer Philip Roth awarded France's highest honour
NEW YORK CITY (AFP) - France has awarded the US writer Philip Roth its highest decoration, the Legion d'honneur (Legion of Honour), with the country's foreign minister bestowing the award in New York.
At a ceremony on Friday, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, in the Big Apple for the United Nations General Assembly, praised Roth's prolific career as one of the leading men of American letters.
The distinction, first established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to give recognition to civilians and soldiers, has five degrees and Roth, 80, was given the title of Commander.
"This highest honour is a wonderful surprise," Roth said. Then, speaking in French, he said that he was "absolutely delighted". Foreign Minister Fabius, describing Roth's "huge success" in France, added: "France is giving you back what you have given to my country."