About the Conference
We invite winners of the Campbell and Sturgeon awards (and often their
editors) to the event. These Guests of Honor take home
names are also engraved on the permanent
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
Campbell Award and Sturgeon Award
winners and the other special guests, and then we often wrap up with an informal afternoon get-together.
Gunn Center Conference book signing from 2008
Kij Johnson, James Gunn, Chris McKitterick, and Frederik Pohl.
This Year's Speakers and Special Guests
In addition to area authors and other guest authors and editors, the Gunn Center 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:
Pat Cadigan has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for
Fools; the Hugo Award for "The
Girl-Thing who Went Out for Sushi" (link goes to podcast); the Locus
Award for "Angel," "Girl-Thing," and
Patterns; the Seiun Award for "Girl-Thing"; and
the World Fantasy Award for "Shayol." She is not only founding royalty
of Cyberpunk, but
Fantastic names her "the queen of modern science fiction," and
Wired calls her a "sci-fi maverick." Cadigan calls her job "Professional Bad Influence," and is "currently
kicking terminal cancer's arse." Learn
on her Wikipedia page, Facebook page, and
her blog. Also check out this great piece: "Pat Cadigan: A Retrospective," by Tanya Brown for
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
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.
Matthew Jacobson is an Associate
Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University
of Kansas, where he teaches film and media production. Matt
is also a cinematographer, producer, and director, with over 40 feature
film and video credits to his name. As Director of Photography, Matt has
taken three feature films to the Sundance Film Festival - a rare
achievement for a filmmaker, especially one who teaches
full-time. Matt's latest projects are two new feature films with
creative partner and fellow KU professor Kevin Willmott:
the SF satires
Destination: Planet Negro!
(screened at the 2013 Conference) and
The Confederate States Of America
(screened at the 2014 Conference); and
Jayhawkers, about legendary coach Forrest C. "Phog" Allen
and his most famous KU recruit, Wilt Chamberlain.
Kij Johnson's fantasy and SF novels and short stories have
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
& Fantasy Novel Writing Workshops 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 English Department.
Ruth Lichtwardt has worked with the Gunn Center since its earliest days, and
currently serves as Events Coordinator for the
Gunn Center 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 Gunn Center 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
Gunn Center Conference needs:
is an author, editor, and faculty at the University of Kansas,
where he teaches, serves as the
Center's director, and serves on the
Award jury. His short fiction, nonfiction,
and essays have been published in a number of magazines and anthologies,
and his debut novel,
was published by Hadley Rille Books.
Chris teaches the Center's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshops
and Intensive Institute on the Study of SF,
as well as a number of other regular-semester writing and
science fiction courses.
writes science fiction and nonfiction. They are the author of the novel
Autonomous, nominated for the Nebula and Locus Awards,
finalist for the
Award, and winner of the Lambda Literary Award.
As a science journalist, they've written for the New York Times,
Washington Post, Slate, Ars Technica, the New Yorker, and
The Atlantic, among others.
They are also the co-host of the podcast
Our Opinions Are Correct. They were the founder of
io9, and served as the editor-in-chief of
Their new novel, The Future of Another Timeline, comes out September 2019.
Michael Page co-chairs Academic Programming for the
Gunn Center 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
Saving the World Through Science Fiction: James
Gunn, Writer, Teacher, Scholar, the first critical study of James Gunn. His
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.
Noël Sturgeon is the Trustee of the
Theodore Sturgeon Literary Trust and the fourth daughter of his seven children. With Paul Williams, she put together the 13-volume
Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon.
She is a former Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, Toronto, professor emerita of Women's Studies at Washington State University, and the author of many articles and two books:
Ecofeminist Natures: Race, Gender, Feminist Theory and Political Action (1997) and
Environmentalism and Popular Culture: Gender, Race, Sexuality and the Politics of the Natural
Growing up in a house that included a library of thousands of science fiction and fantasy books, Barbara J. Webb had no choice but to become a writer herself. She writes fantasy and romance, and most often a blend of the two. A
Midwesterner at heart, Barbara has lived in Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas, but finally settled in only two blocks away from the house in which she was born. She enjoys her small-town life with her husband and her cat, and occasionally dreams of keeping horses. Or even better, unicorns.
Barbara has assisted Kij Johnson with
Novel Writers Workshop since 2009, and has two novels under her belt,
Midnight in St. Petersburg and
City of Burning Shadows. Barbara has studied under such genre masters as James Gunn, Kij Johnson, Walter Jon Williams, and Nancy Kress. In addition to
being an alum of both the CSSF
short- and novel-writing workshops, she is a graduate of Taos Toolbox. Read more about Barbara at her website.
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
Special Guests from 2004
George Zebrowski (Campbell Award
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
Aldiss and Harrison created the Campbell Award in 1972. Photo courtesy Karen Gunn.
Schedule of Events
Click here to download the 2019 schedule
in pdf format
(updated June 24)
Campbell and Sturgeon winners from 2007
Campbell Award winner
Ben Bova, and Sturgeon Award winner Robert Charles
Feel free to drop
Ruth Lichtwardt a line with any Gunn Center 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
The Conference is the central feature of the Gunn Center's summer SF
program, and it often concludes Chris
McKitterick's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop and
Kij Johnson's Novel Writing Workshop,
kicks off the
Intensive Institute on Science Fiction
Literature, the Young
Adult Writing Workshop, and two advanced "Repeat Offenders" writing workshops
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, including:
- Better Alternative Transportation Services (BATS): 24/7 door-to-door service; individual rates.
- SDM Transportation: 24/7 door-to-door service; offers airport shuttles or luxury cars with individual rates.
Jayhawk Taxi: 24/7 door-to-door service; fixed rate to the airport for 1-2 passengers.
Super Shuttles: 24/7 door-to-door service; group rates; discount if you use the group discount code: S6Q2W.
- Five Guys Shuttle: 24/7 door-to-door service; rates per van, not per person.
Here 2 There Shuttle: 24/7 DD service, airport shuttle, and reservations for special events. Can hold up to 10 passengers at once. Call or text 785-380-8879 or email
KCI Express Shuttle
offers pickup and delivery right to the door for only $5 more than the
normal rate. Phone Reservations: (816)645-1815. After 8:00 PM CST (816)372-1556.
- Ground Transportation Services, Inc, is a local Lawrence business
that provides 24/7 taxi service within Lawrence, and the surrounding areas. They also operate daily door-to-door shuttle service to the Kansas City Airport. (888)467-3729 or
(785)838-4500. See a schedule here.
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
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
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.
Click the links below to see reports about previous Gunn Center Conferences.
Photos from Past Conferences
Click the links below to see Keith Stokes'
MidAmerican Fan photo-archives of
previous years' activities.