By Natalie Delcorps
On Wed., March 11, James L. Swanson spoke at the Batavia’s Fine Arts Center. Swanson is famous from the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer.
It seems fitting that April of 2015 commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln. Swanson’s book Manhunt was given an Edgar Award for the best non-fiction crime book of the year. Swanson has also written several historical books including his award-winning young adult book called Chasing Lincoln’s Killer.
Batavia High School librarian Daniel Russo was excited for this event.
“I think my perspective is a bit different,” Russo said. “I have talked to Swanson before when we tried to set this up. We’ve been working on this One Book, One Batavia for a couple of years. What I’m looking forward to is getting the people to meet him. I’m excited to see what it does for students and community.” One Book, One Batavia is an annual community-wide reading program that helped Swanson visit the school.
Various authors have come and visited Batavia High School. Neal Shusterman who wrote the book Unwind was at Batavia just last year.
“I read Chasing Lincoln’s Killer for my summer reading and loved it,” said senior Emma Jordan. “I love reading historical books and liked the accuracy and detail within his story.”
Swanson had some suggestions to aspiring young writers.
“I suggest two things to young adults who want to write,” Swanson said. “First , read a lot. You learn a lot about how to write by reading a lot. And second, pay attention to the world around you, observe everything you see, and practice writing down descriptions of what you see. Whether it’s a building, a person, their clothes, where you’re seeing them, what they are buying in the store, pay attention to minute details to what the world is around you. And then you can recreate what it’s like to be some place or see something.”