On Saturday, November 9, Sylvie Christophe—the French government’s cultural attaché to Houston—presented Karl Kilian a medal that signified he had been named a Chevalier de l’Order des Arts et des Letters for his service to France and French culture in Houston.
Kilian is the founder and original owner of Brazos Bookstore, which he opened in 1974. Mlle Christophe read a brief biography before a crowd of 50 to 60 of Kilian's friends, citing Kilian's accomplishments in Houston’s cultural scene since his undergraduate days at the University of St. Thomas, when Kilian first entered the charmed circle of John and Dominique de Menil.
Brazos Bookstore preceded both the opening of the writing program at the University of Houston and the founding of Inprint, organized by the late Marion Bartheleme, Dr. Glenn Cambor, and Kilian in 1983. These three institutions are now the foundation of Houston’s literary scene. Thanks to Brazos Bookstore, many thousands of Houstonians have benefited from the books, authors, and readings hosted at the store.
Independent bookstores are becoming increasingly rare. One that has served its community at such a high level of dedication and taste is rarer still. Merci beaucoup, Karl, et vive le Brazos!