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Meet the 2019 Scribes Instructors: Nisi Shawl at Hugo House

Posted Tue, 6/25/2019 - 9:50am by  |  Category: ,

Calling all young sci-fi writers!

This year we’ve added four new genre-focused sessions to our Scribes Writing Camps, including Sci-Fi Scribes. This one-week session takes high school-age writers of all levels on an expedition into the craft of writing about new and unknown worlds, alternate realities, and more.

Sci-Fi Scribes takes place at Hugo House and runs August 5–9. Open to high school-age writers of all levels.

This session is led by award-winning writer Nisi Shawl. Meet Nisi and learn why she’s excited for this year’s camps below.


Quick! Favorite word, right now. 

Mondegreen is my favorite word at the moment. It means a misheard lyric, and boy do I have a lot of mondegreens. Probably the most famous mondegreen is “’Scuse me while I kiss this guy.” That’s from a Jimi Hendrix song, “Purple Haze”; the correct words are “’Scuse me while I kiss the sky.” But I know my dad had that one for sure. Here’s one of my recent mondegreens, from a song by Cooler Kids: “When I walk through the door, I’m a dead guitar.” I’ll let you look up the actual words.

The word mondegreen is itself a mondegreen, which may be why I love it so much.

A book or writer you wish you’d known about when you were 15 OR a book you wish had been around when you were 15:

I read a whole bunch when I was 15 and didn’t miss too much. But if only I had gotten into Colette then. All that lush description, all those moods and unsentimental passion.

I knew I was going to be a writer when…

When I learned to read, I guess. I mean, that was something I found out at multiple times, in multiple ways. I knew in 9th grade after I wrote a science fiction story my English teacher gave me an A- on. I realized it again in college when I read Suzy McKee Charnas’s novel Walk to the End of the World and understood just how much I could get away with. And so on.

What are you most looking forward to about teaching at Hugo House?

I am most looking forward to finding out what I’ll do.


Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing interviews with some of the 2019 Scribes Summer Camp instructors to learn more about their literary style and why they’re excited for this year’s camps. For more information on the camps and to register, visit the Scribes page.