July 15 - 28, 2018
Shared Worlds is a nonprofit program that does not receive financial support from Wofford College. The amount of funding we award to student each year depends on donations and grants we receive. We do our best to prioritize students with the highest financial need and interest in the program. If you’d like to contribute to make the program possible for more students, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today!
Applications for Shared Worlds 2018 will open November 15th 2017 - April 1st 2018. If you’d like to receive email notices about next year’s program, sign up for our e-newsletter.
Shared Worlds is an annual summer program designed for teen writers interested in speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, etc.). The students work in groups with an experienced “world-building coordinator” to design and build a world. They also attend sessions on particular aspects of world-building with historians, scientists, authors and philosophers. Within a few days, the students have produced a world complete with its own life forms, languages, laws, and cultures. The students then write stories set in the worlds they have built. Professional writers on the Shared Worlds staff, as well as a number of guest authors, instruct the students in various aspects of creative writing. At the end of the program, the guest authors meet the students individually to discuss their stories; they also provide a constructive written evaluation of each student’s story. Finally, the students’ stories are published annually in book form.
Supported by an Amazon grant and featured by The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post, Shared Worlds is a unique writing camp that brings together rising 8th-12th grade students from all over the world. Students work with critically acclaimed and bestselling fantasy and science fiction writers to imagine, build, and write their own stories.
The camp 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 noted and award-winning authors. 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 campus of Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.
Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All the Birds in the Sky, which won the Nebula, Locus and Crawford awards and was on Time Magazine's list of the 10 best novels of 2016. Her Tor.com story "Six Months, Three Days" won a Hugo Award and appears in a new short story collection called Six Months, Three Days, Five Others. Her short fiction has appeared in Tor.com, Wired Magazine, Slate, Tin House, Conjunctions, Boston Review, Asimov's Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, ZYZZYVA, and several anthologies. She was a founding editor of io9.com, a site about science fiction, science and futurism, and she organizes the monthly Writers With Drinks reading series. Her first novel, Choir Boy, won a Lambda Literary Award.
Gwenda Bond writes YA and children’s fiction. Her novels include the Lois Lane series (Fallout, Double Down, and, coming in 2017, Triple Threat), which bring the iconic comic book character front and center in her own YA novels, and the Cirque American series (Girl on a Wire, Girl Over Paris, Girl in the Shadows), about daredevil heroines who discover magic and mystery lurking under the big top. She and her husband author Christopher Rowe will launch a middle grade series, the Supernormal Sleuthing Service, in 2017 with The Lost Legacy.
Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Publishers Weekly, Locus Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. She has an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and their unruly pets. There are rumors she escaped from a screwball comedy, and she might have a journalism degree because of her childhood love of Lois Lane.
John Chu is a microprocessor architect by day, a writer, translator, and podcast narrator by night. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming at Boston Review, Uncanny, Asimov's Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, and Tor.com among other venues. His translations have been published or is forthcoming at Clarkesworld, The Big Book of SF and other venues. His story "The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere" won the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.
Julia Elliott’s 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 anthologized 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, arrived in October 2015. She is currently 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 daughter and husband.
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 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’s published two more novels for children and youth, a book of poetry, and a collection of short stories (adult). Hiromi is a mentor in The Writer’s Studio Program at Simon Fraser University, a mentor for The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and is a board member of Plenitude magazine. Hiromi has a graphic novel pending with First Second Books. She is currently at work trying to decolonize her relationship to the land and to be a responsible guest on Turtle Island.
Ekaterina Sedia was born and raised in Moscow, where her parents and the rest of her family still reside.
Her novels — The House of Discarded Dreams, The Secret History of Moscow, and The Alchemy of Stone — are currently available from Prime Books.
Her short stories have sold to Analog, Baen’s Universe, Fantasy Magazine, Clarkesworld, and Dark Wisdom, and have been published in the Japanese Dreams (Prime Books) and Magic in the Mirrorstone (Mirrorstone Books) anthologies.
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. Leah lives in San Diego, California and is the author of Nowhere Near You and the William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist, Because You'll Never Meet Me.
Ann VanderMeeer serves as the Shared Worlds editor-in-residence.
Over a 30-year career, she has won numerous awards for her editing work, including the Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award. Whether as editor-in-chief for Weird Tales for five years or in her current role as an acquiring editor for Tor.com, Ann has built her reputation on acquiring fiction from diverse and interesting new talents. As co-founder of Cheeky Frawg Books, she has helped develop a wide-ranging line of mostly translated fiction. Featuring a who’s who of world literature, Ann’s anthologies include the critically acclaimed Best American Fantasy series, The Weird, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, Sisters of the Revolution, and the Big Book of Science Fiction (Vintage, 2016).
Jeremy L. C. Jones is a freelance writer, editor, and lecturer. He contributes regularly to the third-party role-playing game magazine Kobold Quarterly. He also writes for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites.
Jones is a board member for The Hub City Writers Project and The South Carolina Academy of Authors. Along with collaborators at the Alzheimer's Association, The Hub City Writers Project, and the Department of Psychology at Wofford College, Jones helped create Living Words, a creative writing program for people diagnosed with dementia and their caregivers.
Jones is a shameless fan of shared world fiction in general and Forgotten Realms in particular, which lead to his creating a pilot of the shared worlds program at a high school in Lexington, KY. His favorite fantasy novelists are R. A. Salvatore, Greg Keyes, and David Gemmell. He prefers Robert E. Howard to J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings, and is still not convinced that one day he won't find the magic doorway to Narnia. He's pretty fond of Greek drama, southern literature, Vietnam War novels, and American nature writing, too.
Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor, and author of the New York Times bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy—the first volume of which, Annihilation, is currently being made into movie to be released by Scott Rubin/Paramount this year. His latest novel, Borne, will be published by MCD/FSG April 25th, 2017 and has been optioned by Paramount. His fiction has been translated into thirty-five languages and has appeared in the Library of America’s American Fantastic Tales, Conjunctions, and multiple year’s-best anthologies as well as on such sites as Slate and Vulture.
VanderMeer grew up in the Fiji Islands and spent time traveling through Asia, Africa, and Europe before returning to the United States. These travels have deeply influenced his fiction. He is the recipient of an NEA-funded Florida Individual Artist Fellowship for excellence in fiction and a Florida Artist Enhancement Grant. A three-time winner of the World Fantasy Award and fifteen-time finalist, VanderMeer has also won the Shirley Jackson Award and Nebula Award as well as been a finalist for the Hugo Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.
In addition to his writing, VanderMeer has edited or co-edited several anthologies, including Best American Fantasy, The Weird, and The Big Book of Science Fiction. His award-winning Wonderbook is the world’s first fully illustrated creative writing book. He also writes for The NY Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, the Atlantic online, Electric Literature, LitHub, and many others. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, Ann VanderMeer, and two cats.
Tim is Professor of History and Associate Provost for Administration at Wofford, but for twelve of the past sixteen years, he has spent his summers working for the Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth (CTY) summer academic program as a history instructor and as a site director. He has worked in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York for CTY. In 2008, CTY selected him to direct the inaugural year of the CTY International site in Spain, which was held at the European University of Madrid.
Tim teaches European history at Wofford. His research interest is the intersection of state power and religious reform in sixteenth-century Spain.