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 and director of summer programs at Wofford.
Although there are only a few spots remaining for this year’s program, which runs from July 14 through July 27, the program continues to accept 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 to get more information.
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. In fact, so far this year the program has two international applicants. Shared Worlds has been featured in The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.
This year is exciting already for Shared Worlds, Schmitz says, noting that the program’s co-director, Jeff VanderMeer, and editor-in-residence Ann VanderMeer have teamed up to edit a new anthology, “The Big Book of Classic Fantasy” (Vintage), which will be available in July. The work is the third in a series of comprehensive anthologies. Previously, they published “The Big Book of Science Fiction” (2016) and “The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories” (2012).
This year’s roster of guest writers again includes an array of Shared Worlds veterans and some authors appearing for the first time. They include:
Victor LaValle, author of the short story collection “Slapboxing with Jesus;” four novels, “The Ecstatic,” “Big Machine,” “The Devil in Silver” and “The Changeling;” and two novellas, “Lucretia and the Kroons” and “The Ballad of Black Tom.” He also is the creator and writer of a comic book “Victor LaValle’s DESTROYER.” He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shirley Jackson Award, an American Book Award and the Key to Southeast Queens. LaValle was raised in Queens, New York, and now lives in Washington Heights with his wife and children. He teaches at Columbia University.
Kali Wallace, who studied geology and earned a Ph.D. in geophysics before she realized she enjoyed inventing imaginary worlds more than she liked researching the real one. She is the author of the young adult novels “Shallow Graves” and “The Memory Trees” and the upcoming middle-grade fantasy “City of Islands.” Her first novel for adults, the science fiction horror-thriller “Salvation Day,” will be published by Berkley Books this year. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov’s, Tor.com and other speculative fiction magazines. After spending most of her life in Colorado, she now lives in southern California.
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 also is the editor of the anthologies Paper Cities (World Fantasy Award winner), Running with the Pack, Bewere the Night and Bloody Fabulous as well as The Mammoth Book of Gaslit Romance and Wilful Impropriety. Her short-story collection, “Moscow But Dreaming,” was released by Prime Books in 2012. She also co-wrote a script for “Yamasong: March of the Hollows,” a fantasy feature-length puppet film voiced by Nathan Fillion, George Takei, Abigail Breslin and Whoopi Goldberg to be released by Dark Dunes Productions.
Gwenda Bond, author of many novels, including the Lois Lane and Cirque American trilogies and the first official Stranger Things novel, “Suspicious Minds.” She and her husband, author Christopher Rowe, also co-write a middle-grade series, the Supernormal Sleuthing Service. She is co-host of Cult Faves, a podcast about the weird world of cults and extreme belief. Visit her online at www.gwendabond.com or @gwenda on Twitter.
Christopher Rowe, a science fiction and fantasy author, great cook, raconteur and independent bookseller. (Some of these things may be lies, or none of them, he says.) His story collection, “Telling the Map,” was released by Small Beer Press in 2017. He also co-writes a series for younger readers, the Supernormal Sleuthing Service, with his wife, author Gwenda Bond, from Harper’s Greenwillow imprint. He currently is hard at work on “Sarah Across America,” an unusual fantasy novel about maps and megafauna, among sundry short stories and the second installment of the Supernormal Sleuthing Service. His first novel, “Sandstorm,” fulfilled his childhood dream of writing a D&D novel and was published by Wizards of the Coast. He also has published numerous stories and has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy and Theodore Sturgeon awards.
Maurice Broaddus, who, when he’s not writing or editing, is a champion curler and often impersonates Jack Bauer, but only in a French accent. He raises free range jackalopes with his wife and two sons … when they are not solving murder mysteries. He really likes to make up stories. A lot. Especially about himself. His work has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Weird Tales, Apex Magazine, Asimov’s, Cemetery Dance, Uncanny Magazine, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, with some of his stories having been collected in “The Voices of Martyrs.” His books include “The Knights of Breton Court” trilogy and “Buffalo Soldier.”
Julia Elliott, whose writing has appeared in Tin House, The Georgia Review, Conjunctions, The New York Times, Granta online, Electric Literature and other publications. She has won a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and her stories have been anth9ologized in “Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses” and “The Best American Short Stories.” Her debut story collection, “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 pubished in 2015. She is working on a novel about Hamadryas baboons, a species she has studied as an amateur primatologist. She teaches English and women’s and gender studies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she lives with her husband and daughter.
Ann VanderMeer, editor-in-chief of Shared Worlds. 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, co-director of Shared Worlds. He has written or edited numerous works of speculative fiction, including the critically acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy and 2017’s “Borne,” which was released to rave reviews.
Tuition for Shared Worlds 2019 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.”