Gunn Center Conference 2019
Gender, Sexuality, Race, Class, Love, Empathy, and Style in Science Fiction:
The Legacies of Theodore Sturgeon


June 28 - 30
Lawrence, Kansas

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

Schedule of Events



Airport Transportation

Reports from Prior Conferences

         Updated August 24, 2019

Click here to download the 2019 schedule in pdf format

This year's Gunn Center Conference celebrated Theodore Sturgeon's legacy by exploring some of his top themes and the literary style he brought to science fiction: Gender, sexuality, race, class, love, and empathy.

The Conference took place on June 28-30 in Lawrence, Kansas, where we used the University of Kansas Student Union for most of our activities, including a mass signing by the attending author and editor guests. We usually announce most of our guests beginning in late April and continue adding more throughout May and early June.

In addition to exploring our theme, we celebrated 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 hosted a reception for our winning Guests of Honor.

About the Conference

Often 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.

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 Synners and 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 Future 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 more on her Wikipedia page, Facebook page, and her blog. Also check out this great piece: "Pat Cadigan: A Retrospective," by Tanya Brown for Strange Horizons.

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.

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 CSA: 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 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 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: 

Chris McKitterick is an author, editor, and faculty at the University of Kansas, where he teaches, serves as 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 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.

Annalee Newitz writes science fiction and nonfiction. They are the author of the novel Autonomous, nominated for the Nebula and Locus Awards, finalist for the Campbell Memorial 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 Gizmodo. 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 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.

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 (2009).

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 her 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 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

Click here to download the 2019 schedule in pdf format
(updated June 24)

Stay tuned: We're continuing to update the schedule, which will grow as new special guests confirm. Your packet will have all the up-to-date info!


Registration and Costs


Registration Includes...



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

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 Awards 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.
  • After June 1 or at the door: $50 (non-students) or $20 (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, starting at 6:30pm.
  • Soft drinks and iced tea.

Banquet registration: $30.

Note: We must have your registration by the afternoon of June 24 (at the latest) to ensure 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.

To pre-register at the Early Bird rate, please print and mail this form with your check (pdf) by the deadline.
(You can always pay at the door, but we need all Awards Banquet reservations by the Monday before the event - email works to register by afternoon on June 25 and pay at the door.)

Contact Ruth Lichtwardt for all your Gunn Center Conference questions or needs, or to make a last-minute Awards Banquet reservation:

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 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 Keith Stokes.

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, and kicks off the Intensive Institute on Science Fiction Literature, the Young Adult Writing Workshop, and 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, 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 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 Gunn Center Conferences.

2018 Gunn Center Conference

2017 Gunn Center Conference

2016 Gunn Center Conference
(also MidAmeriCon II Academic Programming Track)

2015 Gunn Center Conference

2014 Gunn Center Conference

2013 Gunn Center Conference

2012 Gunn Center Conference

2011 Gunn Center Conference

2010 Gunn Center Conference

2009 Gunn Center Conference

2008 Gunn Center Conference

2007 Gunn Center Conference

2006 Gunn Center Conference

2005 Gunn Center Conference

2004 Gunn Center Conference

2003 Gunn Center Conference

2002 Gunn Center Conference

poster for the 2008 book signing event
2008 Gunn Center 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 Gunn Center Conference

2014 Gunn Center Conference

2013 Gunn Center Conference

2012 Gunn Center Conference

2011 Gunn Center Conference

2010 Gunn Center Conference

2009 Gunn Center Conference

2008 Gunn Center Conference (by Ed Carmien)

2007 Gunn Center Conference

2006 Gunn Center Conference

2006 Gunn Center Conference (by Tracy Majkol)

2005 Gunn Center Conference

2004 Gunn Center Conference

2003 Gunn Center Conference

2002 Gunn Center Conference

2001 Gunn Center Conference

2000 Gunn Center Conference

1998 Gunn Center Conference

1997 Gunn Center Conference

1996 Gunn Center Conference

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

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