Gunn Center Scholarships

Mark Bourne
Speculative Fiction Writing Scholarship

The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction is pleased to offer two scholarships for SF studies at the University of Kansas:

  • Mark Bourne Speculative Fiction Writing Scholarship (this page): To help outstanding SF writers afford to attend the Center's summer writing workshops.
  • Scholarship in Science Fiction Studies: To help outstanding scholars and writers afford to study either SF literature or SF writing at the University of Kansas (details).
  • The Center also offers the James E. Gunn Award for Science Fiction Writing, a writing prize to the author of an outstanding SF story written for a KU English class.
  • Additionally of interest to SF scholars is the Heinlein Society Scholarship Program (not affiliated with the Center, but a great way to help pay for SF studies).

Donate! If you would like to donate to support SF studies at KU - either to honor a loved one or just to help students in need - please contact us, and we'll be more than happy to work with you! Please send Gunn Center Director Chris McKitterick a note at with any questions. We use KU Endowment accounts to ensure that all donations are secure and are used entirely and exclusively for the designated purpose.

Mark Bourne Speculative Fiction Writing Scholarship

About Mark Bourne
The Award
Press Release (pdf)

Thanks to a generous friend of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction, starting in 2015 we are pleased to offer a scholarship to help 1-4 outstanding speculative-fiction writers attend one of the Center's summer writing workshops. Our first priority is to assist creative-writing graduate students at KU, but the scholarship is also open to our usual applicants.

The scholarship comes in either the form of a fee waiver of the not-for-credit workshop registration fee, or a monetary award to help cover KU fees for enrolling for-credit in ENGL 757 (Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop only). Recipients also receive complimentary membership to the Campbell Conference directly following the workshops, where they can meet scholars and professionals in the field.

The scholarship is intended to enable writers to attend one of the Center's writing workshops who might not otherwise be able to afford it. The donor (Elizabeth Bourne, an alum of the summer program) hopes to "help more writers attend the workshops and benefit from the world-class instructors they attract."

The scholarship is established in Mark's name to honor a man who dedicated his life to speculative fiction.

Mark Bourne, 1961 - 2012

Mark Wilson Bourne was a science-fiction writer, science writer, screenwriter, and film and movie reviewer, as well as an actor, stage director, teacher, and general awesome person. He even got to work with Ray Bradbury.

Mark passed away February 25, 2012, at the age of fifty. He was born July 10, 1961 in Russellville, Arkansas, to Philip and Elizabeth Wade Bourne. The middle of three boys, he is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; his stepson, Austin Lawhead; both brothers, Richard Bourne of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Randall Bourne of Phoenix, Arizona; and a large network of friends and chosen family.

Mark graduated from Russelville High School in 1979 and first attended Arkansas Tech, then the University of Arkansas where he earned his bachelor's with a double major in Music and English. He then achieved a Master's Degree in Theatre at the University of Nebraska.

Mark went on to script shows at planetaria and museums across the country. He is well published and highly regarded in the science fiction field. His story "What Dreams Are Made On" was reprinted in the 4th edition of Literature and Ourselves: a Thematic Introduction for Readers and Writers, making Mark a writer of academic significance. Mark is also listed in Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction as having the earliest use of "morph" in his story, "Being Human."

But the things Mark was known best for can't be quantified by the remarkable facts of his life, like his dry and mischievous sense of humor, his infectious grin, his fierce friendship, his braininess and insight, and his love and generosity. He'll never truly be gone as long as we remember him.

Mark's bio:

The Award

The Mark Bourne Speculative Fiction Writing Scholarship consists of:

  • For those wishing to enroll not-for-credit in either Chris McKitterick's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop or Kij Johnson's SF&F Novel Writing Workshop:
    • A waiver of workshop tuition fees (see the pages for current costs). In years of greater demand, we may offer smaller waivers to more applicants.
    • Campbell Conference membership.
    • For out-of-town recipients with special circumstances, we may be able to also offer a waiver of workshop fees and scholarship-hall housing costs.
    • Recipients are responsible for other expenses while attending the workshop (food, travel, and so forth).
  • For KU graduate students wishing to enroll for-credit in Chris McKitterick's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop:
    • A monetary award to help cover KU graduate-credit resident fees (up to $1200) for enrolling in ENGL 757 ("Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop").
    • A waiver of guest-author fees.
    • Campbell Conference membership (most years; in 2016 we are hosting it in conjunction with WorldCon, so it is not included).
    • Recipients are responsible for other expenses while attending the workshop (food, housing, and so forth).
  • Your name and author page posted here!

The winner is announced during the English Department Awards Ceremony in May. Below are the SF Scholarship winners to date.


To apply for the Mark Bourne Scholarship, submit the following with your workshop application materials:

  • A short letter (250 - 1000 words) detailing how you would benefit from a scholarship to your workshop of choice: Kij Johnson's SF&F Novel Writing Workshop or Chris McKitterick's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop (see those pages for application information and due dates).
  • To be considered, submit all materials to either McKitterick or Johnson as early in the application period as possible, because the workshops fill quickly.
  • Only outstanding applicants who also are accepted into one of these two workshops are eligible.

Submission deadlines:

More details:

  • We may award the scholarship to one or two deserving students per year, per workshop, depending on qualifications, needs, and funding.
  • Depending on the number of applicants and their need, we may offer greater or lesser fee deductions.
  • All successful applicants are eligible to apply for the scholarship, but must also apply for the scholarship.
  • Both Kansas residents and non-residents are eligible for the scholarship, though preference goes to KU graduate writing students.
  • You may apply for the scholarship each year, but preference goes to new applicants.
  • Winner is also eligible to be awarded the Scholarship in Science Fiction Studies, for use in the Intensive Institute on Science Fiction Literature or to study SF during the regular school year.


Stephanie Grossman

Stephanie is a writer and marketing professional in New York City who has worked for publishing companies like Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House. She currently works at JSTOR, a scholarly research library. Along with recent publications in Hobart, Paste Magazine, and Hypable, Stephanie has been a winner of Creative Nonfiction's Tiny Truths micro essay Twitter contest, and she's also appeared on stage at The Moth. She lives in Astoria, NY and finally has a cat.

For 2017, Stephanie enrolled in Chris McKitterick's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop.


H.C.H. Ritz

Hilary spent ten years working as a web designer, and in 2012 finished her first novel, The Lightbringers, one of the first books acquired by indie publisher Grey Gecko Press. It was an exciting start to her writing career. Now with two more books released through Grey Gecko Press, Hilary is a regular panelist at local literary and pop-culture conventions. Check out her website here. She writes at home while taking care of her young son.

For 2017, Hilary enrolled in Chris McKitterick's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop.


Marlee Jane Ward

Marlee is a writer from Melbourne, Australia, who grew up on the Central Coast of New South Wales and studied creative writing at the University of Wollongong. Her short stories have appeared in at Interfictions, Terraform, Apex, The Sockdolager, Aurealis, Mad Scientist Journal, Slink Chunk Press, Feminartsy, and the In Your Face and Hear Me Roar anthologies. Her debut novella, Welcome To Orphancorpwon Seizure's Viva La Novella 3 and the 2016 Victorian Premiers Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, and was shortlisted for the NSW Premiers Award, Aurealis Award, and Norma K Hemming Award. The sequel, Psynode, is nominated for the 2018 Aurealis Award. In 2017, she won the Ditmar Award for Best New Talent. Check out her website here.

For 2017, Marlee enrolled in Kij Johnson's SF&F Novel Writing Workshop and her "Repeat Offenders" advanced writing workshop.



Shawn Frazier

Shawn Frazier earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. Since graduating in 2011, he has attended the Taos Writer's Tool Box, with Nancy Kress and Walter Jon Williams; the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop at Brown University, with Ravi Howard; and was accepted into a two-month writing course at the 92 Street Y, with Josh Weil. In 2015, attended Kij Johnson's Novel Writing Workshop. The Speculative Fiction Foundation gave him Honorable Mention for an excerpt of this novel, The Hoodoo Nigger. He won the Mary Shelley Contest, and his fiction has been published in Rosebud Magazine, SQ Mag, and Flapper House. Shawn works as a high-school English teacher in New York City, where he was born and raised.

For 2016, Shawn enrolled in both Chris McKitterick's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop and his "Repeat Offenders" advanced writing workshop.


Chinelo Onwualu

In 2006, Chinelo Onwaulu took a graduate-level writing seminar with Arthur Flowers at Syracuse University's Creative Writing Program. She is also a graduate of the 2014 Clarion West Writers Workshop. Her passion is to grow science fiction in Africa, and she is working to create a thriving writing career that she can balance alongside her day job as an editorial consultant. To this end, she is editor and co-founder of Omenana, a magazine of African speculative fiction, and she has published stories in several places, including The Kalahari Review, Saraba, Brittle Paper, Jungle Jim, Ideomancer, and the anthologies AfroSF: African Science Fiction by African Writers, Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond, and Terra Incognita: New Short Speculative Stories from Africa. Chinelo is also part of the Writing in the Margins program, a mentorship for marginalized writers in the early stages of their careers. She lives and works in Abuja, Nigeria.

For 2016, Chinelo enrolled in both Kij Johnson's SF&F Novel Writing Workshop and her "Repeat Offenders" advanced writing workshop. 

updated 3/14/2018

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