By Robert W. Dalton
Not even fantasy worlds were immune to the real effects of COVID-19.
Shared Worlds, a science fiction/fantasy teen writing camp, returns to the Wofford College campus July 10-23 after a two-year absence caused by the pandemic. The camp was canceled in 2020 and was held virtually in 2021.
Shared Worlds has taken place on the Wofford campus since 2008. The camp is for rising eighth through 12th-graders and connects students with professional novelists to discuss the writing process. Students receive opportunities to have their writing critiqued and experience collaborating with other camp participants to write stories.
The camp often draws students from around the United States and internationally.
Dr. Joseph Spivey, associate professor and chair of mathematics, is helping coordinate the camp this year. He says he’s excited to see it return as an in-person event.
“I love it because it’s something very far away from what I do in a math class,” Spivey says.
Camp participants are divided into creative groups that collaborate to tell stories while engaging in “world building.” The exercises allow students to hone compromising and negotiating skills while imagining a shared setting for their individual stories.
Spivey says the camp is a place where the students can make lifelong friends.
“For some students, it’s the first time they’re surrounded by like-minded people,” Spivey says. “Here, fantasy and science fiction is the norm. They come for the writing, and they get a community.”
Tuition for Shared Worlds is $2,500, and financial aid is available. Students can register or get more information about the camp at sharedworldscamp.com.
The college’s COVID-19 policies will be followed. Masks are currently optional on campus.
Guest authors scheduled to appear at camp include:
Kalynn Bayron is the bestselling author of the young adult fantasy novels “Cinderella is Dead” and “This Poison Heart.” She is a classically trained vocalist and when she’s not writing you can find her listening to Ella Fitzgerald on loop, attending the theater, watching scary movies, and spending time with her kids.
Natasha Bowen, a writer, teacher and mother of three children. She is of Nigerian and Welsh descent and lives in Cambridge, England. Her debut book, “Skin of the Sea,” was inspired by her passion for mermaids and African history.
Maurice Broaddus is the resident Afrofuturist at the Kheprw Institute and an editor at Apex Magazine. His work has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Magazine of F&SF, Uncanny Magazine and Black Panther: Tales from Wakanda. His books include “Sweep of Stars,” “Pimp My Airship,” “Buffalo Soldier” and “The Usual Suspects.”
Christine Lynn Herman, the New York Times and indie bestselling author of novels about magic, monsters and growing up, including “All of Us Villains,” “The Devouring Gray” duology and “The Drowning Summer.”
June CL Tan is the international bestselling author of “Jade Fire Gold.” Growing up in Singapore, she was raised on a diet of classic books and wuxia movies, caffeine and congee. After obtaining three degrees, she decided she had enough of academia.
Jeff VanderMeer is a co-founder of Shared Worlds. His New York Times bestselling “Southern Reach” trilogy has been translated into over 35 languages. The first novel, “Annihilation,” won the Nebula Award and Shirley Jackson Award, and was made into a movie by Paramount in 2018.