Campbell Conference and Awards 2017

June 16 - 18

"Saving the World Through Science Fiction"
Celebrating James Gunn

Connect with SF authors, scholars, editors, and fans while celebrating the best SF of the year.
In an intimate setting, discuss topics relevant to the human condition and the science-fiction field.
Since 1974.

About the Conference
Special Guests for 2017
Schedule of Events
Reports from Prior Conferences

         Updated June 13, 2017

  Final Schedule (pdf)
Thanks to everyone who attended last year - we had a great time and made lots of connections.
Congratulations to the winners of the Campbell and Sturgeon Awards. Ad Astra!

This year's Campbell Conference celebrates James Gunn and the mission of the Gunn Center - "Saving the world through science fiction!" The Conference takes place on June 16-18 in Lawrence, Kansas, where we return to the University of Kansas Student Union for most of our activities, including a mass signing by the attending authors and editors. More guests to be announced - check back for updates! We usually announce our guests beginning in late April and continue adding more throughout May and early June.

In addition to our theme, we'll also celebrate the winners of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best SF novel (see the finalists here) and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short SF (see the finalists here), and host a reception for our winning Guests of Honor (if they are able to attend).

What inspires you? Some ideas to get your creativity flowing in preparation for the discussion:

About the Conference

Normally held annually at the University of Kansas (except for the special joint event in 2007 with SFRA, the Heinlein Centennial, and the 2016 academic-programming track for MidAmeriCon II), the Conference provides a setting for intelligent discussion about SF centered around the presentation of these science-fiction honors:

We invite winners of the Campbell and Sturgeon awards (and often their editors) to the event. These Guests of Honor take home trophies, and their names are also engraved on the permanent trophies that remain on display at the Center's office.

The Conference unofficially begins on either Thursday evening with a guest talk, or Friday afternoon (see this year's schedule) with an informal discussion about the profession of SF writing as the concluding event of the Writing Workshops. After a break, we gather for the Awards Ceremony and Banquet on Friday evening, followed by a reception to congratulate the winners. Saturday morning is devoted to a discussion (often round-table) centered on our theme. The afternoon often offers more discussion, readings, presentations, or other events, a group book-signing event, and is followed by an evening reception to gather and talk more intimately about what was said (or left unsaid) in the large groups. Sunday events open with a morning discussion between the Campbell Award and Sturgeon Award winners and the other special guests, and then we often wrap up with an informal afternoon get-together.

Final Schedule (pdf)

Campbell Conference book signing from 2008
Kij Johnson, James Gunn, Chris McKitterick, and Frederik Pohl.

Speakers and Special Guests for 2017

In addition to area authors and other guest authors and editors, the Campbell Conference usually brings to Lawrence the winners of the Campbell Award and Sturgeon Award as Guests of Honor. CSSF Founding Director James Gunn is our permanent Special Guest of Honor.

During the autograph session on Saturday, the bookstore will have available many works from these fine folks for you to purchase and get signed. This year's guests:

Pat Cadigan has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award twice, the Locus Award three times, the Hugo Award, and the Seiun Award. She calls her job "Professional Bad Influence," and is "currently kicking terminal cancer's arse." Learn more about Cadigan on her blog.

M.C. Chambers writes science fiction and fantasy. Her first novel, Shapers' Veil, was published by Hadley Rille Books. Her short work includes "Silk and Velvet" in the anthology Renaissance Festival Tales and an award-winning science fiction story, "Visual Silence," in the anthology Return to Luna. She has been a member of the Noble Fusion writers group since 1998. She is also a flute player, a mother of five, and a variable print programmer.

Bradley Denton is the author of a number of short works and collections, plus three novels: Laughin' Boy, Blackburn, and Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede. Buddy Holly won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 1992, and his two-volume story collection The Calvin Coolidge Home for Dead Comedians / A Conflagration Artist won the World Fantasy Award in 1995. His novella "Sergeant Chip" won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. In 2011, Brad teaches the second week of the SF Writers Workshop as this year's visiting author.

Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin trilogy from Tor Books, and the Seriously Wicked series from Tor Teen. Her novels have been finalists for the Nebula and Norton awards. Her stories have appeared in Women Destroy SF, Lightspeed,, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and more. Her narrations have appeared in Podcastle, Pseudopod, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, The End is Nigh, and more. She co-hosts Escape Pod, and runs the Parsec-winning flash-fiction podcast Toasted Cake. Connolly is a graduate of Clarion West and the Gunn Center's Novel Writing Workshop with Kij Johnson, and has taught at the Clarion West One-Day Workshop, the Cascade Writers Workshop, and the Willamette Writers Conference. She recommends all those. She teaches the Center's Young-Adult Novel Writing Workshop after the Conference. She grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, but now lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. Find her at

Sheila Finch is the author of seven science fiction novels and numerous short stories that have appeared in Amazing, Asimov's, Fantasy Book, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and many anthologies. Sheila taught creative writing at El Camino College for thirty years and at workshops around California. She also writes non-fiction about teaching creative writing and science fiction, including a series on the SFWA website. Her work has won several awards, including the Nebula Award for Best Novella, the San Diego Book Award for Juvenile Fiction, and the Compton-Crook Award for Best First Novel. She also serves on the John W. Campbell Memorial Award jury.

James Gunn is a science fiction author and historian, KU professor emeritus of English, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and SFWA Grand Master. He is a past president of both SFRA and SFWA, and chairs the Campbell Award jury to select the best science-fiction novel of the year. Dr. Gunn served on the advisory board of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame for a number of years. See his page on this website for his bibliography and a fuller bio.

Karen Hellekson earned her PhD in English from the University of Kansas, where she studied science fiction literature with Gunn. She has authored two books and a number of articles and co-edited three books. Most of her work is service within the fan and SF scholarly communities, usually focusing on project management and book or journal production. Her academic CV.

Elizabeth Anne Hull is an SF author, editor, politician, past president of the Science Fiction Research Association, and noted scholar in the field who has long served on the Campbell Memorial Award jury. Her most recent project was editing the anthology Gateways, an expression of respect and affection from 17 of Frederik Pohl's peers. Hull is Professor Emerita of William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. 

Kij Johnson's fantasy and SF novels and short stories have won the Sturgeon Award (which she now serves as juror), World Fantasy Award (which she also serves as juror), Nebula Award (three times), IAFA Crawford Award, and Hugo Award. Kij is Associate Director of the Center, teaches the Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel Writing Workshop as well as a number of other regular-semester writing and fantasy-related courses at KU, where she is Assistant Professor of Fiction Writing in the University of Kansas English Department.

Ruth Lichtwardt has worked with the Gunn Center since its earliest days, and currently serves as Events Coordinator for the Campbell Conference and other Center events. As a KU student, Ruth took several of Jim Gunn's writing classes and later initiated the tradition of the annual Campbell Conference book-signing while working as a trade-book buyer in the KU Union bookstore. She is active in Kansas City and Lawrence-area SF clubs and conventions, including ConQuesT, where she runs the benefit auction with the Gunn Center's AboutSF as the recipient. She has also held various positions at several WorldCons including Hugo Awards administrator, and served as Chair of MidAmeriCon II, the 74th Worldcon, in Kansas City. Her day job has nothing to do with science fiction but helps feed the habit. Contact Ruth for all your Campbell Conference needs: 

Dorian Maffei graduated from the University of California-Santa Cruz with a degree in Creative Writing, and began at Kimberley Cameron & Associates as an intern in 2013. She has since become a junior agent and is now looking to build a client list of her own. While she appreciates most fiction that traverses across genres, she is especially interested in magical realism, fabulism, reimagined fairy tales, speculative fiction, literary science fiction, unique voices, and innovative storytelling that sometimes veers on the weird. She values work that provokes a deep-rooted connection after the last page and explores the peculiar within the mundane. To learn more about Kimberley and what she's looking for in a manuscript, visit

Christopher McKitterick is an author, editor, and faculty at the University of Kansas, where he teaches fiction writing, creative writing, and science fiction; he is the Center's Director, and serves on the Campbell Memorial Award jury. His short fiction, nonfiction, and essays have been published in a number of magazines and anthologies, and his debut novel, Transcendence, was published by Hadley Rille Books. Chris teaches the Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop and Intensive Institute on the Study of SF, as well as a number of other regular-semester writing and SF courses.

Michael Page co-Chairs Academic Programming for the Campbell Conference and is a Research Fellow working with the Center. Mike teaches science fiction and holds an administrative position in the English Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mike just published Saving the World Through Science Fiction: James Gunn, Writer, Teacher, Scholar, the first critical study of James Gunn. His previous book, Frederik Pohl, was also released from the University of Illinois Press in the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series. He's the editor of a collection of stories, The Man with the Strange Head, by Miles J. Breuer, an early science fiction pioneer. His critical study, The Literary Imagination from Erasmus Darwin to H.G. Wells: Science, Evolution, and Ecology, explores the intersections between literature and science in the nineteenth century. His latest essay on Golden Age science fiction and ecology appears in Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction, edited by Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson.

Eric T. Reynolds is the founder, publisher, and editor of Hadley Rille Books and writes about science, space, and archaeology. Eric is a member of SFWA and Broad Universe and a graduate of the Center's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and Hugo-nominated editor of adult and children's speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince, received honorable mention on Barnes & Noble's Year's Best SF of 2011, and was followed by two sequels, The Returning and The Exodus. His first children's books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter - Land Of Legends, appeared from Delabarre in 2012. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies, and online. He's also an anthology editor, with nine more forthcoming, and a Junior Editor for Wordfire Press, where he acquires and develops books of all kinds. Schmidt hosts Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer's Chat on Twitter.

Catherynne M. Valente is a New York Times bestselling author of over two dozen volumes of fiction and poetry. Since her first novel, The Labyrinth, was published in 2004, she has won or been nominated for every major award in her field. Her full-length novels include Yume no Hon: The Book of Dreams, The Grass-Cutting Sword, The Orphan's Tales (In the Night Garden and Cities of Coin and Spice), Palimpsest, The Habitation of the Blessed, Deathless, the Fairyland series (beginning with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making), and Radiance. Learn more about Cat on her website.

Nathaniel Williams teaches composition and literature at the University of California, Davis. His research articles on speculative fiction have appeared in American Literature, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Utopian Studies and elsewhere. His fiction has appeared in Fantasy Magazine, Abyss & Apex, Perihelion, Poor Mojo's Almanac(k), and elsewhere. Nate is a graduate of the Gunn Center's short fiction writing workshop and the SF Institute, and is a former Program Coordinator for AboutSF. He has recently begun co-teaching the Intensive Institute on Science Fiction for the Gunn Center. Before coming to KU for graduate study, Williams worked as a tech writer by day and musician by night, serving as the singer/songwriter for a roots-rock band.

Sheila Williams is the multiple Hugo-award winning editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. She is also the editor or co-editor of twenty-six anthologies, the most recent of which are Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine: 30th Anniversary Anthology (Tachyon) and Enter A Future: Fantastic Tales from Asimov's Science Fiction (Dell Magazines), and the forthcoming Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine: A Decade of Hugo & Nebula Award Winning Stories (Prime Books). Sheila writes regular essays and editorial pieces, and she co-founded the Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing, which is given out each year in Orlando, Florida, by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts.

Gary K. Wolfe's recent work includes Evaporating Genres: Essays on Fantastic Literature (Locus Award) and American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s (Library of America, 2012). His three collections of reviews have won the British Science Fiction Award and been nominated for the Hugo. Earlier studies include The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction (Eaton Award) and Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever (with Ellen R. Weil). Wolfe received the Science Fiction Research Association's Pilgrim Award, International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts' Distinguished Scholarship Award, and the World Fantasy Award for criticism and reviews. His lecture series, How Great Science Fiction Works, was released by The Great Courses and Audible in 2016. he co-edited with Jonathan Strahan The Best of Joe Haldeman (Subterranean Press, 2013). Since 2010, Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan have hosted the weekly Coode Street Podcast on science fiction, which is again nominated for the Hugo.

The Campbell Award and Sturgeon Award winners are always invited to be present to receive their awards, and their editors often attend, as well.

More guests TBA!

Keep your eye out for talks and readings by and about these special guests! We will continue to update the guest list until shortly before the Conference begins.

Campbell Award winners and Hall of Fame inductees
Special Guests from 2004
George Zebrowski (Campbell Award 1999 winner and Sturgeon Award juror), Frederik Pohl (the only two-time Campbell winner, 1978 and 1985), Gregory Benford (Campbell 1981), Jack McDevitt (Campbell 2004), Brian Aldiss (1983 Campbell winner, SF&F Hall of Fame inductee, and First Fandom Hall of Fame inductee), and Hall of Fame inductee Harry Harrison. Aldiss and Harrison created the Campbell Award in 1972. Photo courtesy Karen Gunn.

Schedule of Events


  Final Schedule (pdf)


Registration and Costs


Registration Includes...


Campbell Conference

  • All discussions, readings, and presentations.
  • Friday afternoon events.
  • Friday evening Awards ceremony (no dinner).
  • Friday night reception and refreshments.
  • Saturday book-signing.
  • Saturday events.
  • Sunday events.

We offer several special registration rates:

  • Attendees of the summer workshops or SF Institute: included free with paid registration. (Note: Gunn Center Summer SF students - unless you plan to eat at the Banquet, you can just email your registration info to Ruth Lichtwardt at
  • Students (with proof of student status): $20.
  • ConQuest convention attendees (registering at ConQuest): $20.
  • Regional science-fiction club members (with proof of membership): $25.
  • Registration after June 1 or at the door: $50 (non-students) or $35 (students).

Note: To attend the Awards Ceremony (but not eat dinner), you must let us know so we can provide seating.

Banquet only

  • Friday evening meal during Awards Ceremony.
  • Soft drinks and iced tea.

Banquet registration: $30.

Note: We must have your registration by June 12 (at the latest) to ensure that we can accommodate you for dinner.


+ Banquet

    All above events.

Relevant Conference registration plus $30 banquet registration.

Free Public Events

    Saturday book signing and readings.

Open to the public - no need to register.

Contact Ruth Lichtwardt for all your Campbell Conference questions or needs:

Campbell Award winners and James Gunn at 2007 Heinlein Centennial Gala
Campbell and Sturgeon winners from 2007
James Gunn, Campbell Award winner Ben Bova, and Sturgeon Award winner Robert Charles Wilson.
Photo courtesy Keith Stokes.



Feel free to drop Ruth Lichtwardt a line with any Campbell Conference questions or needs:

Award winners at the 2009 Campbell Conference Awards Banquet
Cory Doctorow, Ian MacLeod, James Alan Gardner (James Gunn in background). Photo by Keith Stokes.

The Campbell Conference is the central feature of the Gunn Center's summer SF program: It concludes Chris McKitterick's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop and the Kij Johnson's Novel Writing Workshop, and kicks off the Intensive Institute on Science Fiction Literature and the two advanced "Repeat Offenders" writing workshops that follow.

Transportation from MCI Airport

This year's Conference returns to Lawrence, a lovely college town centrally located in the US, which means you can easily get there by plane, train, or automobile. The Kansas City International airport (MCI) is a 50-minute drive from town.

Many transport services offer rides from the Kansas City International (MCI - the "M" is for "Mid-Continent") airport. See this map of the University of Kansas to find your way: KU Parking Map (opens in pdf)

Meals are available in a variety of wonderful restaurants, and Lawrence offers at least one fine micro-brewery. Check out or Yelp for a list of just a few of the local eating establishments.


  • Reserve well in advance of your trip to confirm pricing and availability.
  • KCI stands for "Kansas City International Airport," though the official airport code changed to MCI - "Mid-Continent International Airport" - a few years ago.
  • This list is for your information only. KU and the Gunn Center are not affiliated with these services.

Past Conferences

Click the links below to see reports about previous Campbell Conferences.

2016 Campbell Conference
(also MidAmeriCon II Academic Programming Track)

2015 Campbell Conference

2014 Campbell Conference

2013 Campbell Conference

2012 Campbell Conference

2011 Campbell Conference

2010 Campbell Conference

2009 Campbell Conference

2008 Campbell Conference

2007 Campbell Conference

2006 Campbell Conference

2005 Campbell Conference

2004 Campbell Conference

2003 Campbell Conference

2002 Campbell Conference

poster for the 2008 book signing event
2008 Campbell Conference reading & signing poster

Photos from Past Conferences

Click the links below to see Keith Stokes' MidAmerican Fan photo-archives of previous years' activities.

2015 Campbell Conference

2014 Campbell Conference

2013 Campbell Conference

2012 Campbell Conference

2011 Campbell Conference

2010 Campbell Conference

2009 Campbell Conference

2008 Campbell Conference (by Ed Carmien)

2007 Campbell Conference

2006 Campbell Conference

2006 Campbell Conference (by Tracy Majkol)

2005 Campbell Conference

2004 Campbell Conference

2003 Campbell Conference

2002 Campbell Conference

2001 Campbell Conference

2000 Campbell Conference

1998 Campbell Conference

1997 Campbell Conference

1996 Campbell Conference

Giselle Anatol and other SFRA speakers at the 2008 Campbell Conference
KU Professor Giselle Anatol and other SFRA speakers at the 2008 Campbell Conference.

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