Swan, Bill (Whitby)

Writers’ Union Member. Red Maple non-fiction winner. Grades 4 to adult. True crime. His rate is $250 for one session, $450 for two, and $600 for three, plus HST. No travel charges within Durham Region or in the London school board area.

Bill is comfortable giving presentations and readings to students from junior grades through college and adult groups. He has been a newspaper editor, columnist and journalism professor and loves to talk about the process of writing fiction, non-fiction, news and feature writing and even business writing. (He teaches a very popular online course Business Report Writing that stresses the importance of structure and provides a simple organizational tool that can be applied to all writing.)

My main presentation is for Grade 7 and 8 students about the Steven Truscott case (1959 in Clinton, Ontario), in which 14-year-old Steven was convicted of the murder of a seventh-grade classmate and sentenced to hang.

I can present to up to 120 in an auditorium but prefer a library that does not echo. Needed: A projector and screen for PowerPoint.

This Presentation: (a) Provides an overview of the case, providing key facts of the case in a PowerPoint presentation; (b) Reviews the evidence of both the Crown and defence; (c) Shows the process of writing the book

REAL JUSTICE: Fourteen and Sentenced to Death, from transcripts of the original trial transcripts; (d) Reviews some legal terms and concepts important to this case; (e) Includes a reading from my book from the chapter of courtroom drama where 12-year-old Doug Oates confronts an experienced Crown Attorney輸 fictional account created from the original transcript. (f) Encourages students to read my book to see how and why it took Steven 47 years to clear his name.

Middle Grades: Based on my nine novels in the Lorimer Sports Series I provide a 50-minute presentation to Grades 4-6 on writing, on how to create fictional characters and settings, and ending with a reading from one of my novels. This works best if students are familiar with one or more of my books and have selected a chapter for me to read.

Grades 9-12: The presentation for Grades 7 & 8 is upgraded for senior grades, with more emphasis on the trial process, the legal concepts (and how this case changed the laws of Canada) and discussion of how and why this case went so horridly wrong. Another book in the REAL JUSTICE series. This is on the Donald Marshall Jr. case (1971 in Nova Scotia). Highlights of this case are offered and compared.

Writing Workshops And Adult Presentations As a journalism professor of many years at Durham College, I can discuss the mechanics of news and feature writing, its similarities and differences from fiction, and the process of writing. Included is the part common to all genres: writing, re-writing, revision, and the value of critique groups and their limitations.

For adult groups with a stronger tolerance for boredom I can show how to write email messages that are less likely to get lost, and short memos that sizzle.

Email us to book Bill Swan: