Best-selling author Jamie Ford was in Highland Park on Thursday, the keynote speaker at the town’s literary festival.
Earlier that day, he stopped by Highland Park High School, in one of the wealthiest school districts in the state, where he spoke to an assembly of freshmen and sophomores.
It did not go well.
On his personal website, Ford — who broke onto the literary scene in 2009 with his debut, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet — chronicled how he was mocked by a group of students during his talk, “a thousand students, trolling me,” as teachers and a principal looked on.
“After visiting more than 100 schools, from inner-city schools in New York, the kind with clear backpacks and metal detectors, to elite international baccalaureate high schools, including one where the previous year’s guest speaker was Justin Bieber — I’ve finally had a school visit … go sideways,” Ford wrote. “I’m looking at you, Highland Park High School, and I’m confused.”
About halfway through the 50-minute talk, when Ford started a Q&A session, students began to interrupt with random cascades of clapping and cheering…..