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.
Usually, 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
and the kickoff of the Intensive Institute in Science Fiction.
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. When we hold Sunday events, it usually opens 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 regional 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 was our permanent Special Guest of Honor
until his death in 2020.
During the autograph session on Saturday, the bookstore will have available
many works from these fine folks for you to purchase and get signed:
was a science
fiction author and historian, KU professor emeritus of English,
SFWA Grand Master,
and Founder of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction.
He served as a past president of
both SFRA and
SFWA, chaired the Campbell Award jury from 1978-2018 to select the best science-fiction novel of
the year, and 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,
and this memorial tribute for some photos and several stories
honoring his life.
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.
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.
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
Registration and Costs
Stay tuned for costs to attend this year's special event. We hope to offer both traditional live gathering and streaming Zoom event.
Lichtwardt for all your Gunn Center Conference questions or needs, or
to make a last-minute Awards Banquet reservation:
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 to the 2021 Event
This year's Conference
takes place in the lovely college town of Lincoln, Nebraska.
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.