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‘Shared Worlds’ residential camp coming to Wofford

Monday, April 30, 2007

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Creating and living in a fantasy world can open up a whole new world for young people eager to explore their creativity and to interact with others who think like them.

That’s what Wofford College hopes to achieve with an innovative new camp being offered this summer.

The “Shared Worlds” residential camp geared toward rising 8th through rising 12th grade students will run from Sunday, July 29, through Saturday, Aug. 4.

The camp, which will feature science fiction writer Greg Keyes as a keynote speaker along with other authors, artists, designers and scientists, will center on the fictional “shared worlds” participating students create.

“Each group of about a dozen students will apply their created shared world to fiction, art and game design," says Jeremy Jones, a lecturer at Wofford and facilitator of the camp.  “The groups will be exposed to and be able to choose from several speculative fiction genres, including science fiction and fantasy.  Each group will have a teacher assigned to it for the week.”

To build these worlds, the campers will have overview classes in many disciplines, including history, religion and science – many taught by Wofford College professors and instructors and professionals in the fields of writing, art and game design.  “Furthermore, students will take classes in creative writing, game design and digital art,” Jones says.  “All classes will emphasize problem solving, collaborative learning and experiential learning.”

The guest teachers include Christine Golden, who writes “World of Warcraft” novels and Star Trek novels; Douglas Niles, who writes “Dragonlance” and alternative history novels; Harley Stroh, a line editor for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG adventures; Jeff VanderMeer, a world fantasy award-winning novelist; Stephen Leigh, a science fiction and fantasy novelist; and Ken Hite of writer of GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System).

Over the course of the week, the groups will attend five or more science classes and five or more humanities classes as well as hear from the guest speakers, have group creative time and experience hands-on educational activities ranging from building rockets to conducting geological surveys, from alien DNA to digital illustration, from game design seminars to cartography workshops.

The culminating event of the camp will be an exhibition day during which each group presents their game, a novel or fiction anthology, and artwork based in their shared world.

Keyes, a best-selling author of science fiction and fantasy books, will be the featured speaker.  Keyes is author of “The Waterborn,” “The Blackgod,” “The Age of Unreason” tetralogy, and the Star Wars: New Jedi Order novels “Edge of Victory I: Conquest,” “Edge of Victory II: Rebirth” and “The Final Prophecy.”  A graduate of Mississippi State University and the University of Georgia, he lives in Savannah.

Troy Denning, author of New York Times best-selling novel “Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Star by Star” will be a visiting speaker, and Doug Niles, author of more than 30 novels and designer of dozens of games, will teach throughout the week.

Other visiting speakers include writers Laura Resnick, Jack McDevitt, Jeff Mariotte (comics), Richard Danksy (also game designer) and Jim C. Hines; game designers John Wick and Jared Sorenson; and artists Scott Hampton and Doug Chaffee.

Some sessions with Keyes and other visiting speakers will be open to the public.

Tuition for the camp is $1,250, which includes room and board throughout the week.

To register to go the Wofford Shared Worlds Web site at http://sharedworlds.wofford.edu and download the registration form.  For information, contact Cathy Conner at connerca@wofford.edu or (864) 597-4500.