SPARTANBURG, S.C. –At Wofford College’s Shared Worlds, a science fiction/fantasy teen writing summer camp, teen writers work together to design and build their own worlds.
Shared Worlds, now in its 11th year, is a unique summer camp for rising eighth- through 12th-graders that takes an innovative approach to student collaboration and creative writing. Participants are placed in small groups in which they engage in “world-building.” After imagining the landscapes and lifeforms of their worlds as part of a group, they then write fiction set in the worlds they have created, receiving direct, professional feedback from best-selling and award-winning authors who teach in the program.
“The objectives are to write good fiction, develop the skills necessary to work well in a group and realize creative potential – all in a safe and structured environment,” says Dr. Tim Schmitz, associate provost for administration at Wofford and director of summer programs.
Although there are only a few spots remaining for this year’s program, which runs from July 15 through July 28, the program is still accepting applications. “We always try to create space for last-minute applicants excited about our program,” Schmitz says. Go to www.sharedworldscamp.com to register or get more information.
As usual, this year’s participants will represent more than 20 states. The program routinely draws students from around the U.S. and the globe, Schmitz says. It has been featured in The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. This year has been an exciting one already for Shared Worlds. The program’s co-director, Jeff VanderMeer, saw his 2014 novel “Annihilation” transformed into a feature film directed by Alex Garland and starring Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Additionally, a second and expanded edition of VanderMeer’s illustrated guide to creative writing, “Wonderbook,” will be released in July. Some portions of “Wonderbook,” which serves as the Shared Worlds textbook, originally were piloted at Shared Worlds, and a part of the book’s new content explores the Shared Worlds process.
This year’s roster of guest writers again includes an impressive array of Shared Worlds veterans and those appearing for the first time.
The list of guest writers includes:
Gwenda Bond, author of young adult and children’s fiction whose novels include the Lois Lane Series (“Fallout,” “Double Down” and 2017’s “Triple Threat”) and the Cirque American Series (“Girl on a Wire,” “Girl Over Paris” and “Girl in the Shadows”) about daredevil heroines who discover magic and mystery lurking under the big top. Bond and her husband soon will launch a middle-grade series called “The Supernormal Sleuthing Service.”
John Chu, microprocessor architect by day, writer, translator and podcast narrator by night. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming at in Boston Review, Uncanny, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, Tor.com and other publications. His translations have been published or are forthcoming at Clarkesworld, The Big Book of Science Fiction and other publications. His story “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” won the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.
Julia Elliot, whose writing has appeared in Tin House, The Georgia Review, Conjunctions, The New York Times and other publications. She has won a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and her stories have been anthologized in “Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses” and “Best American Short Stories.” Her debut story collec¬tion, “The Wilds,” was chosen by Kirkus, BuzzFeed, Book Riot and Electric Literature as one of the best books of 2014 and was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her first novel, “The New and Improved Romie Futch,” was published October 2015.
Hiromi Goto is an emigrant from Japan who gratefully resides on the Unceded Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh and Tsleil Waututh Territories. Her first novel, “Chorus of Mushrooms,” was the 1995 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, Canada and Caribbean Region, and co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. Her second adult novel, “The Kappa Child,” was awarded the 2001 James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award. Her YA novel “Half World” was the recipient of the Sunburst Award and the Carl Brandon Parallax Award. She has published two more novels for children and youth, a book of poetry and a collection of adult short stories. Goto is a mentor in the Writer’s Studio Program at Simon Fraser University, a mentor for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and a board member of Plenitude magazine.
Ekaterina Sedia, whose critically acclaimed and award-nominated novels “The Secret History of Moscow,” “The Alchemy of Stone,” “The House of Discarded Dreams” and “Heart of Iron” were published by Prime Books. Her short stories have appeared in Analog, Baen’s Universe, Subterranean and Clarkesworld, as well as numerous anthologies, including “Haunted Legends” and “Magic in the Mirrorstone.” She is also the editor of many anthologies, including “Paper Cities” (World Fantasy Award winner). Her short story collection, “Moscow But Dreaming,” was released by Prime Books in December 2012.
Leah Thomas frequently loses battles of wits against her students and her stories. When she’s not huddled in cafes, she’s usually at home pricking her fingers in service of cosplay. Thomas lives in San Diego, Calif., and is the author of “Nowhere Near You” and the William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist “Because You’ll Never Meet Me.”
Ann VanderMeer serves as the Shared Worlds editor-in-chief. She has more than 30 years of editing experience for which she has received numerous awards, including the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award. She was editor-in-chief for Weird Tales for five years and now is an acquiring editor for Tor.com. She is co-founder of Cheeky Frawg Books. Visit http://vandermeercreative.com for more information.
Jeff VanderMeer is co-director of Shared Worlds. He has written or edited numerous works of speculative fiction, including the critically acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy and last year’s “Borne,” which was released to rave reviews.
Tuition for Shared Worlds 2018 is $2,400 per person and includes accommodations, all meals, instruction, supervisory personnel, program material, activities, professional evaluation and certificates. Need-based financial aid is available on a limited basis.
“Shared Worlds is a great way for students to meet their creative peers from across the country and around the world and publish their work with the help of award-winning authors,” Schmitz says. “Shared Worlds takes the ideas and enthusiasm of young writers seriously and encourages their creativity in a fun, dynamic and safe learning environment on the beautiful Wofford campus.”