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Cam Terwilliger, Age 18

A recipient of fellowships and scholarships from the Fulbright Program, the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Bread Loaf, Tin House, and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, Cam Terwilliger is a writer whose work can be found in publications including American Short Fiction, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, West Branch, Post Road, Gettysburg Review, and Narrative, where he was named one of Narrative’s “15 Under 30.” Presented here is a set of sketches drawn when he was in high school.

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— Cam Terwilliger, Age 18

Cam Terwilliger

“All through growing up, my family lived in a yellow ranch house in the suburbs immediately south of Erie, PA, one of many homogenous neighborhoods that surrounded the city’s dying industrial core like bubblewrap. In my teens, I had coke-bottle glasses, a series of Dragon Ball Z t-shirts, and a painful shyness that led me to spend most of my time trying to escape life by playing Dungeons & Dragons and reading comics with the handful of friends that I had—all of us finding shelter in our mutual dorkiness. Often, I would retreat into the basement for hours to draw my D&D characters (like the old wizard featured above) or to imagine heroes and villains inspired by the comics I was reading (first, the Marvel superheroes, and later things like Hellboy or Jim Mahfood comics—the ‘zombie kid’ above is actually one of his characters). The picture of me is from a family trip to Florida when we went to Medieval Times. They had a photo booth that would green screen your head onto the body of a knight, which, obviously, I could not resist.”