Shared Worlds student Katherine Buchanan admonishing me to read Stephanie Meyer at a Breaking Dawn book release party; Will Hindmarch talking to the students about world-building from a game development point of view.
Nothing could've better served as a grand finale to the Shared Worlds teen writing camp at Wofford College in South Carolina than taking the students to one of the recent Stephanie Meyer book release parties. These are kids, you have to understand, who read constantly, who have to be told to put away their books to pay attention in class, and who when asked what activities they'd like to do outside of class pretty uniformly replied, "take us anywhere we can buy more books." Talk about omnivoracious!
Shared Worlds ran from July 20 to August 2 and started off with a week of world-building, in which the students split into groups to create distinctive SF-fantasy worlds. Then, in the second week, they wrote short stories and novel excerpts set in those worlds. In addition to Wofford College teachers and other personnel, I was there as the writer-in-residence and assistant director. Other writers came in to conduct guest lectures and workshops, including Tobias Buckell, Ekaterina Sedia, and Will Hindmarch. Buckell is known for writing Caribbean-influenced SF, Sedia has a Russian background and is a strong advocate for diversity, while Hindmarch has swiftly shot to the top of the gaming ranks on the strength of his work for White Wolf, among others.