Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

Shared Worlds co-director VanderMeer signs book, movie deals

Wofford creative writing program continues to take registrations

Jeff VanderMeer 382x255
Author Jeff VanderMeer

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Author Jeff VanderMeer, co-director of Wofford College’s Shared Worlds writing camp for pre-college students, recently inked publishing and movie deals for his Southern Reach trilogy that may see the story brought to the screen by Scott Rudin Productions and Paramount Pictures.

The deals come in the wake of the London Book Fair held in April, where VanderMeer’s three upcoming books – “Annihilation,” “Authority” and “Acceptance” – were acquired by The Fourth Estate in the United Kingdom in a six-figure agreement and by HarperCollins Canada in another six-figure agreement. 

The movie rights were acquired in March by Scott Rudin Productions and Paramount Pictures, in a separate sizable deal, after Farrar, Straus and Giroux bought the trilogy at auction in another six-figure deal. Rudin was the producer of such highly acclaimed films as “No Country for Old Men,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Social Network.” 

The first volume of the trilogy, “Annihilation,” tells the story of the biologist assigned to the 12th expedition into a strange forbidden zone. Area X appears to be pristine wilderness but hides a number of terrifying secrets. The subsequent titles, “Authority,” and “Acceptance,” continue to explore the mystery of Area X, the expeditions overseen by a secret agency known as the Southern Reach. 

VanderMeer is co-director of Wofford’s Shared Worlds, a non-profit science fiction/fantasy teen writing summer camp, which recently received a third consecutive supporting grant from and named author Karen Lord as its Writer in Residence for 2013.

Registration for the unique camp remains open, though the program is filling up quickly, according to Tim Schmitz, director of summer programs at Wofford. “Being associated with Jeff VanderMeer is terrific for Shared Worlds and the students who participate. He brings so much to this program, and exposing the young students to such an accomplished author serves as inspiration to all of them, and to us. Students who want to learn from the best first-hand should register soon before all the slots are gone. Also, we congratulate Jeff on this recent success of his books.” To register for Shared Worlds, go to

Shared Worlds is one of my favorite things of the year,” VanderMeer says. “The students are always so motivated and so creative that they give a lot of energy back to us. It’s also great to see the progression from the world-building week to the writing week, and how it all works together so well. And, it’s just a lot of fun.”

VanderMeer says the attention the books have received pre-publication is “gratifying because the books are very personal to me. The setting is, transformed, a long wilderness trail I’ve hiked here in North Florida for the past 15 years. I’m happy that the idea and characters are resonating with so many people.

“When I heard it was Paramount (that wanted to bring the story to the big screen), I was ecstatic,” VanderMeer adds. “Then when I heard it was Rudin Productions, I was equally so. They’ve produced some of my favorite movies and do a great job of turning novels into films.”

“Annihilation” will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the United States in early 2014. VanderMeer is represented by Sally Harding of the Cooke Agency and Joseph Veltre (film) at Gersh. FSG holds world rights to the trilogy.

Excitement for VanderMeer’s books going into the London fair also resulted in deals with Seix Barral in Spain, De Bezige Bij in the Netherlands, and Einaudi in Italy, as well as other top-tier publishers in a half-dozen more countries.