Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel Writers Workshop
May 31 - June 12, 2015

- 2015 Novel Workshop is now full -

Multiple award-winning author Kij Johnson
helps you transform your book idea into a successful project.
Since 2004.

Information Map

   Kij Johnson
   Barbara Webb
"Repeat Offenders" Workshop
Enrollment and Registration
Diversity and Disability
Lawrence in the Summer

the monkey or the wasp?

For 2015, the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction again offers the Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel Writers Workshop, plus a short follow-up "Repeat Offenders" workshop for those who have already taken the full-length workshop. Award-winning author Kij Johnson has taught this workshop since 2004.

The novel workshop fills up fast! If you're interested in applying, read this page and respond by the dates listed.

The Science Fiction Novel Writers Workshop will meet from May 31 - June 12, and the Campbell Conference, June 11–14. If you are coming from out of town, plan to arrive on Sunday, May 31, by 6:00pm in our residence hall where we'll be meeting, and stay through the end of the Conference. We will have an informal get-together with the short SF Writers Workshop on Sunday evening to get acquainted.

The Campbell Conference plans to bring the winners of the Campbell Award and Sturgeon Award to campus as special guests, as well as others. Several SF-writer guests, editors, and more join us for the special Campbell Conference each year. Several of our writer and editor guests to come and talk to us on Friday afternoon about "The Secrets of Successful Science Fiction" - always a great experience! Workshop participants may register for the Conference for free as part of their experience.

Participants will have time for writing, recreation, socializing, and individual conferences.


Kij winning her 2012 Hugo Award.

Kij Johnson first offered this workshop in 2004 as a counterpart to the Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop, which focuses on shorter works. Her stories have been finalists for several awards, and her first prize was the Theodore A. Sturgeon Memorial Award in 1994 for her novelette in Asimov's, "Fox Magic." In 2001 she won the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Crawford Award for best new fantasy novelist of the year, when her novel The Fox Woman was published. Her novel, Fudoki, was a finalist for the 2003 James Tiptree, Jr. Award and the 2004 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. Kij was an author guest of honor for the 2005 SFRA conference in Las Vegas. In 2009, her story, "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss" won the World Fantasy Award; in 2010, her story, "Spar" (note: not for young readers) won the Nebula Award; in 2011 her story, "Ponies" won the Nebula Award; and in 2012, her novella, "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" won the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award. Her works have also been finalists for many awards, and she is currently a finalist for the World Fantasy and Hugo awards.

Her novels include two volumes of the Heian Love/War/Death series: The Fox Woman and Fudoki. She also co-wrote with Greg Cox a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, Dragon's Honor; and an e-book anthology of her short fiction, Tales for the Long Rains, from Scorpius Digital. She is currently writing a third novel set in Heian Japan; Kylen, set in Georgian Britain; and another novel or two to be announced soon. Her short-fiction collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees, is available from Small Beer Press.

 Read more about Kij and see her full bibliography here.

Barbara preparing to give feedback at the Rio Hondo writers' workshop.

Barbara has been assisting Kij with the workshop since 2009.

Novel length fiction is Barbara's passion and her area of expertise. She currently has two published novels under her belt, Midnight in St. Petersburg and City of Burning Shadows.

Barbara has studied writing under such genre masters as James Gunn, Kij Johnson, Walter Jon Williams, and Nancy Kress. In addition to the CSSF workshops, she is a graduate of Taos Toolbox.

Read more about Barbara at her website.

2015 Novel Writers Workshop

This summer, in conjunction with the Center for the Study of Science Fiction and the SF Writing Workshop, Kij Johnson teaches a two-week intensive workshop on writing novels. The goals of this workshop are to generate the best possible chapters and an outline for a writer's submission packet; to learn what will be necessary to complete or revise the novel with an eye toward publication; and to have fun in one of the prettiest and most likable towns in the Midwest build bonds with other members of the writing community.

Kij, Barbara, and two workshoppers at the whiteboard during the 2008 Novel Writer's Workshop.

Sock Monkey Action Theatre™ actors at rest.

The workshop is designed for the new novelist who has begun but not completed a novel. The minimum coming in is a solid working outline or synopsis (probably 5-10 pages or more) and the first 15-30 pages. It seems to work best for people who have somewhat more than the minimum but less than half of the work they want to workshop.

The Workshop typically runs each morning from 9:00am–noon, and the rest of your time is free for writing, study, consultation, and recreation.

The Workshop is in two segments. We workshop the novel chapters or segment in traditional round-robin workshop style, with the emphasis on writing and characterization. We also do what Kij calls, for want of a better term and in the tradition of kit-bashing, novel-bashing: Starting with an outline, synopsis, or scene breakdown, we deconstruct and reconstruct the plot, looking for holes or flaws and for ways to deepen the novel's structure and storyline. Then, taking these notes, workshoppers revise either the outline or the chapters and resubmit the material to the workshop for further discussion.

We may also select a published SF/F novel, read it before the workshop, and analyze it for insights into successful novel plotting. We are likely to turn to Sock Monkey Action Theatre™ as a blocking tool.

"Repeat Offenders" Novel Writer's Workshop June 14 - 26, 2015

Return to the scene of the crime to reinforce the lessons from your last workshop, and reconnect with other alums. Since 2010.

Kij again offers an informal two-week workshop for people who have attended one of her novel workshops before this. It runs from June 14–26, but because the workshop starts on Sunday afternoon, as the Campbell Conference winds down, we strongly encourage you to consider showing up on Friday, June 12, for the conference. As with the regular workshop, Repeat Offenders Workshop participants may also register for the Conference at no cost: Just note that you are a Workshop attendee on your registration form. You must still register in advance, of course!

Repeat Offenders is basically a chance to work with similarly trained writers on whatever project is underway. Kij often leads a few discussions and works on fishbowling and development as needed.

To apply:

By April 19, contact Kij at Be sure you:

  • Include "2015 Repeat Offenders" in your subject line.
  • Describe the project you're working on and what's blocking you.
  • Note: This date is for the Repeat Offenders workshop only; the deadline for the regular novel workshop is much earlier.

Enrollment and Registration

The Novel Writing Workshop is now full. If you wish to take the workshop, apply early next year!

Workshop enrollment is 8-10 attendees. The novel workshop always has more applicants than available spots, so not everyone gets in. Kij is interested in putting together a group of writers who are talented and (she hopes) will mesh productively and positively. Its imperative that people work well together.

Applicants for admission must contact Kij Johnson ( between February 1 and March 1. Be sure you:

  • Include "2015 Novel Workshop" in your subject line.
  • Describe your experience with workshops, if any.
  • Talk about your goals as a writer generally and for this workshop in specific.
  • Describe the project you wish to work on, either in the synopsis/outline you submit to the workshop, or a shorter document.
  • Include 5-10 sample pages of your novel at the end of your email. (Don't attach documents if you can help it.) If you do not have pages of the novel, you may be able to apply using other fiction writing, but ask first!

You may be asked for additional information. Those applying early will be informed of acceptance by March 15. Deadlines for housing and so forth come up after this.

If you are accepted, we'll contact you with registration instructions. To attend the Campbell Conference, be sure to register for that, as well - just because it's free for Workshop attendees doesn't mean you don't have to register! Your registration is not complete until you have sent your check by the deadline.

Those applying early will be informed of acceptance by March 15. Your packet will be due May 15 at the latest. This deadline needs to be firm, since workshop participants may be reading and preparing notes on 400 or more pages of material. This packet can be electronic and will include:

  • A 5-20 page synopsis, outline, or scene breakdown. This should be your best effort at describing the novel. This is not a pitch; it is the functional tool you are using to write the book.
  • The first three chapters or 15-30 pages of the novel.
  • Whatever additional materials are essential to the readers understanding of your goal.

To clarify: The workshop is designed for writers in the early stages of a novel: 25-100 pages of first draft, and an outline or synopsis of 5+ pages (or a spreadsheet; we had one of those, too). With very rare exceptions, it's not as effective for the later stages.

Participants often exchange full manuscripts during or after the Workshop, so bring the entire manuscript if you have one, and be prepared to share more if you find interested readers!

Contact us for any logistical help you might need in getting settled for your stay. More logistical information is available on the CSSF LiveJournal page.

Diversity and Disability

Everyone enjoys equal access to the Gunn Center's offerings, and we actively encourage students and scholars from diverse backgrounds to study with us. All courses offered by Gunn Center faculty are also available to be taken not-for-credit for professionalization purposes by community members (if space is available). Click here to see the Center's Diversity Statement.

The Academic Achievement and Access Center (AAAC) coordinates accommodations and services for all eligible KU students. If you have a disability for which you wish to request accommodation and have not contacted the AAAC, please do so as soon as possible. Their office is located in 22 Strong Hall; their phone number is (785)864-4064 (V/TTY). Also please contact us privately about your needs in this course.


Tuition for the Workshop is $600, exclusive of meals and housing, payable to University of Kansas. Those also taking the Speculative Fiction Writers Workshop (short form) must pay tuition for that Workshop, as well. Meals vary in cost depending on where you eat. Please send a check payable to KU Housing before you arrive.

Tuition for the "Repeat Offenders" Workshop is $300, payable on acceptance.

Basic Campbell Conference membership is now included free to all Gunn Center summer-program registrants; note that you are an SF Institute student in your online-registration form (instructions here). You are also invited to attend the Awards Ceremony on Friday evening, but you must still register and pay for the Banquet meal if you wish to eat.

Thanks to a generous donation from a friend of the Center, a limited number of scholarships are available for KU graduate students and outstanding writers in financial need. To be considered, please request it and explain your need when contacting us. Details on this page.


Our official dorm housing for out-of-town attendees is likely to be one of the lounges in Rieger or Krehbiel Scholarship Hall at 1323 Ohio Street, a new residence located near the Kansas Student Union, Oread Hotel, and downtown. Rooms share a bathroom, either with an adjacent room or down the hall (3 stalls and showers/bath per 6 rooms), and have a sink and counter space for a microwave or other small kitchen equipment. Other building amenities include a lovely wraparound porch with seating (including a chair-swing or two), basketball court, refrigerator, coffee and tea equipment, and many private study areas. They are conveniently located just down the hill from the KU Student Union and a few blocks' walk from lovely downtown Lawrence. Be sure to let Lydia Ash know if you have special needs.

Dormitory rooms are available at the following rates. These may vary slightly each year.

Note: Prices have gone up dramatically this year, but we do not wish to pass on the increase. If you'd like to help keep housing prices low for future attendees, please consider making a donation to help the Gunn Center cover our losses! Click the button below to give using a credit card, or write a check made out to CSSF and mail it or bring it with you. Thanks!

  • Novel Workshop housing in our scholarship hall for the duration (Sunday evening, May 31, through Friday morning, June 12) in a single room (unshared): $516. To settle in and meet your fellow workshoppers, we recommend arriving early in the day on Sunday. 
  • Repeat Offenders housing in our scholarship hall for the duration (Sunday evening, June 14, through Friday morning, June 26) in a single room (unshared): $516.
  • Housing (for either workshop) in a shared double room: $325. If you want the double rate, you need to work out a roommate in advance, because the Center is charged per room, not per occupant, and we cannot choose roommates for you.
  • Scholarship hall housing during the Campbell Conference is an additional $58 (shared) or $98 (unshared) for Friday and Saturday night housing. You must request to and pay for extra days if you wish to stay longer. This is a great opportunity to meet our Campbell and Sturgeon Award-winning authors, plus other authors and editors, so we strongly recommend staying through the Conference weekend.
  • Note: Housing cannot accommodate check-ins earlier than May 31. Housing cannot accommodate stays beyond June 26.

If you wish to stay in a dorm, you must make dorm reservations by early May. Please pay for your room in advance once you hear from Lydia Ash about this year's final rate. Check-out is at noon.

Contact Lydia Ash for any logistical help you might need in getting settled for your stay. More logistical information is available on the CSSF LiveJournal.

Check out for local hotel information.

Meals are available in a variety of places, including the Kansas Union and a myriad of local restaurants. Check out for a list of just a few of the local eating establishments.


2005 SF Novel Workshoppers in our dorm lounge

The SF Novel Writing Workshop of 2005
Standing: Chuck Marsters, Larry Taylor, Erick King, Leonid Korogodski.
Sitting: Maria Zannini, Robert Hamm, Kij Johnson, Lane Robins.

Check out for local hotel information.

Meals are available in a variety of wonderful restaurants, and Lawrence offers at least one fine micro-brewery. Check out for a list of just a few of the local eating establishments.  We head downtown each evening for a diversity of group dinners for all those interested!

Transportation from Airport to Lawrence

Many transport services offer rides between the Kansas City International (MCI - the "M" is for "Mid-Continent") airport and Lawrence, including:

  • Better Alternative Transportation Services (BATS): 24/7 door-to-door service; individual rates.
  • Roadrunner (also known as "KCI Airport Shuttle"): individual rates; departs from the Holidome (Lawrence Holiday Inn) at specific times. Toll-free phone contact number: (800)747-2524 or call your travel agent.
  • 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 our dorm or your hotel 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 from Lawrence to the Kansas City Airport. (888)467-3729 or (785)838-4500. See a schedule here.


  • 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.


Here's a cropped map of the University of Kansas (click the image to see it in full-screen size):
 click for larger map

Here's a map showing where KU is located in Eastern Kansas:

University of Kansas map.

Kansas Union map (in .pdf format).

Lawrence bus routes and maps.

Google Maps centered on the KU Kansas Union.

Unfortunately, this summer KU is enduring lots of road construction. See this map for details (click the image to see image in full-screen):

Lawrence in the Summer

For anyone who hasn't visited, Lawrence is wonderful, a lively small city in the Kaw River valley, filled with art, events and activities. The location of the University of Kansas, Lawrence is situated about 40 miles from Kansas City and 20 miles from Topeka. Summers can be hot, but classrooms and housing are air-conditioned.

Among its many amenities, the University of Kansas has a large science-fiction collection and good reference collections; museums of natural history and art; and sports, theater, and concerts. Lawrence has many excellent restaurants and shopping and recreational opportunities. Kansas City is less than an hour away. Nighttime opportunities include movies, dinner, concerts, star-gazing sessions, and more.

The nearest major airport is Kansas City International, about 55 miles from Lawrence. Transportation to Lawrence from Kansas City International can be arranged through one of several airport shuttle services. By car, Lawrence is at the intersection of U.S. 59 and I-70 (Kansas Turnpike). The west interchange is closer to campus. Lawrence can also be reached along the lovely Kansas Highway 10.

Find out all about Lawrence - its history, stores, museums, observatories, and SFnal activities - here.

Contact us for any logistical help you might need in getting settled for your stay:

Lydia Ash ( ) or Kij Johnson ( )

updated 5/18/2015

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