Bill Swan

Bill Swan

Courtice, ON

Red Maple Non-fiction in Forest of Reading by Ontario Library Association (Winner, 2013)

Norma Fleck Award for Children's Non-fiction (Short-listed, 2013)




Bill Swan is a retired journalism professor and college administrator who is still actively involved in writing fiction; media, promotion and web material; and online educational material. He has experience in the lecture hall (19 years as a journalism professor at Durham College, Oshawa, ON.), the newsroom (10 years as reporter, editor and manager of a daily newspaper in Woodstock, Ont.,), and the classroom (he began his career as an elementary school teacher, and even taught in a two-room school with a wood-burning stove and a woodshed. [So beware!]

Swan is a native of Bright, in Oxford County, and a former managing editor of The Daily Sentinel-Review in Woodstock, Ont. He is a former Director of Applied Arts at Durham College, where he still co-chairs the Academic Appeals Committee. He continues his involvement in the college system as a communications consultant to the Ontario College Administrative Staff Association and is contributing editor to College Administrator magazine.

He was a member of the 1953-54 Washington Senators, runners-up to the Ontario Minor Hockey Association Juvenile “D” championship. This team played out of the Plattsville Arena. He also attended the same high school as Bobby Hull for one year. After watching Hull skate one day following a high school noon hour skate at the Perry Street “Ice Palace” in Woodstock, Swan gave up hockey for less physical pursuits. His love of hockey can be seen in his two hockey books, Deflection! and The Enforcer.

His journalism experience is best displayed in his three non-fiction books in the REAL JUSTICE series published by James Lorimer and Company, Toronto. These provide a clear, readabile overview of famous (and infamous) cases in Canadian law: the stories of Steven Truscott, Donald Marshall, Jr. and Rubin &;Hurricane&; Carter.




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What non-fiction can teach writers about fiction

For high school classes, Bill&;s presentation on three non-fiction books on unjust convictions deal with the causes of such miscarriages of justice and how the stories of Steven Truscott, Donald Marshall, Jr. and Rubin &;Hurricane&; Carter helped change Canadian law and the treatment of young people -- and the training of police. For writing classes, Bill adapts his presentation to show the layers of research required to bring courtroom drama to life on the page, and how the story structure is essential to all writing, and what writing non-ficiton has taught him about writing fiction.


Presentation type: Reading

Recommended levels: Intermediate (7-8), High school (9-12)

Fees: Presentations begin at $250 plus travel. See Authors' Booking Service for details.

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Characters make the story

Bill shows how starting from a brief physical description, a student writer can build a profile of the characters in a story -- and how those characters can then take over the story itself.


Presentation type: Reading

Recommended levels: Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8)

Fees: Presentations begin at $250 plus travel. See Authors' Booking Service for details.