AMERICAN literary sensation John Green breezed into Swindon for a chat with a sell-out crowd – and had some words of advice for Swindon Town boss Paolo Di Canio. Hundreds of teenagers queued for hours outside the Steam Museum for the audience with the best-selling author and his brother Hank. John is travelling the UK on a promotional tour for his acclaimed novel The Fault In Our Stars, but is also known as the creator of the Swindon Swoodilypoopers an on-line version of the team.
The self-confessed nerd plays as Swindon Town on FIFA before uploading the games to YouTube, together with his commentary, which often strays into his thoughts on life. He said: “I play as Swindon Town on FIFA 11 and through that process I’ve become something of a fan of the actual club and the town. “It all started because Hank played as Arsenal and Swindon had this famous victory over Arsenal so I thought I’d use the team to beat him, and I did. “I became very loyal to the team and I created this whole alternative universe. Because of that Swindon seemed like the right place to start the UK tour.”
The brothers talked about their work, chatted with fans, signed books and posters and sang songs during their appearance on Saturday. “It’s really exciting to see so many young people, and adults, so enthusiastic about books and reading,” he said. “It’s hard to hang out with 500 people at once but we love being able to spend an afternoon with them.
Green, 35, is due to attend a Swindon Town game before his UK tour finishes later this month – and had his own view on Di Canio’s possible departure. He said: “I think it’s terrible for his career if he actually quits. What’s beautiful about his management is that he’s so mercurial and he says what other managers only think. “But is he actually going to quit? Has he packed his bags? He’s talked about that stuff before. I think it says to any other prospective club if he quits that this guy’s really unpredictable. “He’s upset about Matt Ritchie, I’m upset about Matt Ritchie, but he needs to finish up the season. I’m biased because I really want them to get promoted again and they have a good chance.” Among the ‘nerdfighters;’ who queued for hours in the cold was Megan Cliffe, 16, from Chippenham. “The books teach you to imagine people complexly and there are metaphors for everything,” she said.
Megan’s friend Nia Cooper, 18, also from Chippenham, said: “His books are written in the first-person exactly how a teenager would speak.”