Students studying outside the library

Shared Worlds names Lord Writer in Residence

Science fiction/fantasy teen writing summer camp

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Shared Worlds participants visit a Spartanburg bookstore to hear from visiting writers.

SPARTANBURG, S.C.Shared Worlds, a non-profit science fiction/fantasy teen writing summer camp hosted by Wofford College, has received a third consecutive supporting grant from and has named author Karen Lord as its Writer in Residence for 2013.

A unique summer camp for rising eighth- through 12th-graders, Shared Worlds’ innovative approach groups participants into small groups in which they imagine and design a world. They then write fiction set in the worlds they have created. The objectives are to write good fiction, develop the skills necessary to work well in a group, and to realize a student’s full creative potential – -all in a safe and structured environment. This year’s program will be held from July 21 to Aug. 3, and registration is under way. 

Before the start of camp, Shared Worlds will celebrate Lord’s work on its website ( with an appreciation and reading list as well as by highlighting one of her short stories. The author’s visit to campus, funded by the grant, will include workshops and discussions with students and a reading at a Spartanburg bookstore. 

“Each year, we like to turn the spotlight on one of our guest writers, someone whose work is unique and inspirational for our students,” says Jeremy L.C. Jones, Shared Worlds founder and director of the program. 

Lord is a writer and research consultant in Barbados. Her debut novel “Redemption in Indigo” won the 2008 Frank Collymore Literary Award, the 2010 Carl Brandon Parallax Award, the 2011 William L. Crawford Award and the 2011 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. It also was long-listed for the 2011 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and shortlisted in the Best Debut Novel category of the Kitschies Awards. Her latest novel, “The Best of All Possible Worlds,” won the 2009 Frank Collymore Literary Award. 

Shared Worlds, the brainchild of Jones, began in 2008 with 19 students. The program has grown in every subsequent year, and in 2012 enrolled more than 50 students. Tim Schmitz, director of summer programs at Wofford, says the program is not structured to grow much beyond its current size. “We want to be certain that we continue to offer the same level of one-on-one interactions between our student participants and our guest authors that has been the hallmark of Shared Worlds thus far.”

For now, Schmitz says, Shared Worlds will cap enrollment at about 50 students. Enrollment for 2013 is ahead of where it was in 2012, he notes. “We currently have students enrolled from across the United States, as well as two participants from Finland, and we still expect a few more international registrations.”

Registration details are available on the website at Tuition is $2,200 per person and includes accommodations, all meals, instruction, supervisory personnel, program material, activities, professional evaluation, and certificates.

In addition to Lord, guest instructors will include: Jeff VanderMeer, a multiple World Fantasy Award winner; editor Ann VanderMeer, winner of World Fantasy and Hugo awards; author and game designer Will Hindmarch; Shared Worlds veteran Holly Black, author of the best-selling Spiderwick Chronicles; Rose Fox, the science-fiction, fantasy, horror and romance review editor at Publisher’s Weekly; Shared Worlds veteran Kathe Koja, author of the historical novel “Under the Poppy;” Shirley Jackson Award winner Nathan Ballingrud; and Jake Von Slatt, Steampunk contraptor and proprietor of the popular website the Steampunk Workshop. In addition to helping to fund the visits of guest authors, the grant supports scholarships for students and offsets general operating expenses.

During the first week of Shared Worlds, the students build science fiction or fantasy worlds in groups. In the second week, the students fine-tune their worlds and write stories set within those worlds, receiving professional feedback from award-winning authors. Past visiting writers have included bestselling writers Naomi Novik and Nnedi Okorafor, with writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin, China Mieville, Michael Moorcock, Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman, and many others contributing to various subsidiary efforts for the camp.

Extensive media coverage for Shared Worlds has appeared in The Guardian, the Washington Post book blog, the Huffington Post culture blog, the USA Today culture blog and many national and international media outlets.

For information about Shared Worlds, contact Tim Schmitz, director of summer programs at Wofford, at 864-597-4551 or