Meet our 2024 authors: Anne Swardson

Meet our 2024 authors: Anne Swardson

SHORT BIO: Anne Swardson has lived in Paris for 27 years and still finds surprises every day. People especially: a one-man band, a pickpocket, a lonely bus driver, a despairing spice vendor, a grieving Senegalese souvenir hawker at the Eiffel Tower. After many years in journalism, she still loves seeing people like this and making up their stories. 

REAL-LIFE THRILLER MOMENT: I dabbled in war correspondence as a journalist, including some iffy situations in Kosovo, Bosnia and the dodgy suburbs of Paris. My takeaways: assume a neutral facial expression, look calm and invite the people you meet to tell their story.

WHO I ADMIRE: Perhaps because my dad earned a PhD after growing up desperately poor in the Depression and my mom raised a family and earned her own math doctorate at the same time, I’m big on the triumph-over-adversity narrative. My characters don’t always win, but they never give up.

FAVORITE MEDIA MOMENT: The best book I’ve read recently was David McCullough’s “The Path Between the Seas,” about how the French failed to build the Panama Canal and the Americans pulled it off. Talk about high stakes: thousands dead from yellow fever and malaria, mud slides into the channel, corruption everywhere and dollars bleeding out. Into this morass arrives President Teddy Roosevelt, during the rainy season so he can see just how tough it is. By the end of the damp three-day visit, everyone has found hope again.

WHAT I’M WORKING ON: In addition to my fiction, I write a blog about Paris. There’s no part of the city I won’t go, except for the touristy ones. See to learn more.

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