Award-Winning Author Visits Campus


Haley Regan, Staff Writer

It’s no secret that there is a large community of readers on campus. Many spend their free time in the aisles of the library, searching for their next read. While many students’ interests are niche, there are a certain few novels that are popular among many students. These classic young-adult novels have captivated readers for many years. Such as The Hunger Games and the Percy Jackson series. Neal Shusterman is a critically-acclaimed author whose works target the young-adult demographic. He has received many awards, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for his novel Challenger Deep. His most popular books include Unwind, which has won over 30 awards, and Scythe, which is in development for a feature film. Recently, however, many students have been seeking out a certain novel called Scythe, written by Neal Shusterman. Students were given the unique opportunity organized by the librarians to meet with Shusterman, to ask questions and have their books signed in the PAC on Dec. 5.

Shusterman was welcomed with a chorus of applause. He stood in front of a myriad of his book covers on stage, with a microphone in hand. He introduced himself, thanked Canyon’s librarians, Elizabeth Polk and for the opportunity to come, and started the Q&A.

The conversation soon turned to the topic of Shusterman’s inspiration for his novel Scythe, which takes place in a dystopian world where humans are immortal, and it is up to the Scythes, to choose who must die to prevent overpopulation. Shusterman noted the bitter story of his mother’s death following a stroke, and how hard it was to let her go.

“She had no quality of life. I had to be the one to turn off her feeding tube,” Shusterman said.

Her passing made him wonder, as people around him told him that a stroke was such an awful way to go.

There’s no easy way to lose someone. But being in the embrace of the two people you love most in the world is not the worst way to go”

— Shusterman

This led him to the idea of Scythe.

“The next story I came up with was a story about people whose job it was to end life with compassion,” Shusterman said.

Students were keen on Shusterman’s responses. No question went unanswered.

“[Shusterman] was so interesting to talk to, and it was neat to learn the reasoning behind his books,” junior Bella Hogue said.

After his Q&A, Shusterman signed books in the lobby of the PAC. Many students brought copies of Shusterman’s novels to sign; some even brought whole trilogies.

“Having my books signed was super neat. They’re something I’ll definitely cherish in the long run,” senior Matthew Ochoa said.

The librarians are always working hard to organize events to meet authors. Students can look forward to new events soon.