WINNER  2013 RED MAPLE Non-fiction Ontario Library Association
Bill Swan nominated for national honours by Canadian Children’s Book Centre Bill Swan of Courtice is one of five Canadian authors nominated for the prestigious Norma Fleck Children’s Non-fiction award by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Winner of the award will receive a $10,000 cash award in a ceremony in Toronto October 22. Swan was nominated for his book REAL JUSTICE: Fourteen and Sentenced to Death, the story of Steven Truscott. “The nomination was a surprise,” Swan said. “To be included in the lists of prominent Canadian authors is in itself an honour.” Earlier this year, Fourteen and Sentenced to Death was chosen by readers in Grades 7 and 8 across Ontario as winner of the Ontario Library Association Red Maple Non-fiction Award (part of the Forest of Reading program). The book presents the story of Steven Truscott in narrative form, based on the original statements to police and court testimony. Steven Truscott was 14 and in the seventh grade in 1959 when he was convicted of the murder of a classmate, Lynn Harper. Truscott spent 11 years in prison before he was released on parole, but the conviction was not overturned until 2006 — forty-seven years later. Swan was founding professor of the journalism program at Durham College, where he also served as an academic director. Earlier this year, Swan’s book on the Donald Marshall, Jr. case was released as part of the same series. REAL JUSTICE: Convicted for Being Mi’kmaq tells the story of 17-year-old Donald Marshall, convicted of murder of the 1971 stabbing death of  Sandy Seale, also 17. Marshall was the son of the Grand Chief of the Mi’kmaq; Seale was a promising athlete and Black. Numerous attempts were made clarify what happened that night: one witness tried to change his testimony during the trial but the judge would not allow it. Another witness came forward one week after the conviction but police concluded he was fabricating. Marshall spent 11 years in prison. Swan is also author of nine middle-grade sports novels. A complete list is available on his website: About the awards, Swan says: “Writers spend most working days isolated, staring at a computer screen. Any public recognition is a welcome opportunity to meet readers in a variety of settings.” On September 22, Swan will be part of a panel discussion at the Word on the Street in Toronto. The topic: the writing of real events through non- fiction and historical fiction. That takes place on the This is Not the Shakespeare Stage at the Queen’s Park event at  11:30 a.m. The OLA Forest of Reading is the largest library reading program in Canada. Up to 10 authors are nominated in eight categories by age groups and involve 250,000 readers.Also in this year’s event, Oshawa author Wesley King won the Red Maple Fiction award — “A sweep for Oshawa in the Red Maple category,” Swan said. B/Forest_of_Reading/Welcome.aspx The Canadian Children Book Centre Award winners will be announced at the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards and Prix TD de littératurecanadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse – two invitation-only gala events in Toronto on October 22 and Montreal on October 29. Overall, $130,000 in prize monies will be awarded. Swan is a member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region, The Writers’ Union of Canada, and is a director and incoming president of the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP). For more information call Bill at 905-434-7183 or email him at
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