Shared Worlds and real life fantastical cities

In what I thought was a great way to promote Wofford College’s “Shared Worlds” fantasy writing camp for young people‚ Jeff VanderMeer rounded up some of speculative fiction’s best writers to contribute their thoughts on what they thought were the most “fantastic” real world cities. Elizabeth Hand‚ China Mieville‚ Ursula LeGuin‚ Michael Moorcock and Nalo Hopkinson all weighed in on the topic‚ and you can read their contributions here.

If you’ve not heard of Shared Worlds before‚ let me take a moment to explain it to you. Shared Worlds is an innovative‚ intense two week writing program where students from all over the country gather to collaborate in the creation of their own fantasy milieu‚ from there creating stories‚ art and more that represent that world. It is taught by special instructors from various academic disciplines and the worlds of game design‚ fiction writing and more‚ under the direction of Camp Director Jeremy Jones and Assistant Director Jeff VanderMeer. You can read about Jeff’s experiences last year here.

Shared Worlds is sponsored this year by Tor Books‚ along with Wizards of the Coast‚ and Realms of Fantasy Magazine. This is the kind of program that might be the first step for producing our next generation of science fiction and fantasy masters‚ and it’s great that companies like these are stepping up to support it.

I admire the students of Shared Worlds‚ too. These are young people with a real commitment to growing as writers‚ and are willing to follow through by spending several days of their summer vacation in pursuit of that goal. Do you remember your own summer vacations? How willing would you have been to go anywhere near a classroom once that final school bell of the year rang?

For more about Shared Worlds‚ check out the Agony Column podcast with Jeff VanderMeer.

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