June 23, 2004

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Contact: Dan Lara, University Relations, (785) 864-8855.

Annual KU writers workshop, conference inspire future science-fiction authors

LAWRENCE -- The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas will sponsor four events over the next month to help aspiring science-fiction writers develop their ideas, critique their work and network with well-known authors in the genre.

The Writers Workshop in Science Fiction (June 28 through July 9), the SF Writer's Retreat (June 26 through July 23), the Intensive English Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction (July 10 through 23) and the Campbell Conference (July 8 through 11) all will be at KU.

Following are descriptions of the Writers Workshop, Campbell Conference and other events:

The Writers Workshop in Science Fiction is for writers who have just begun to sell their stories or who need additional insight or skill to become published. Workshop participants comment on every story, each story is analyzed for publishability and writers are encouraged to submit their work for publication. James E. Gunn, professor emeritus of English at KU and director of the Gunn Center, leads the workshop. Authors Frederick Pohl and Elizabeth Ann Hull will serve as guest reviewers, with Chris McKitterick, KU lecturer in English, and Kij Johnson, associate director of the Gunn Center, providing personal consultation on stories.

The Campbell Conference is the concluding event of the Writers Workshop and marks the beginning of the Intensive English Institute. The title of this year's conference is "Science, Science Fiction and the Future." The conference serves as a way to present three annual science-fiction honors: the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science-fiction novel of the year, the Theodore Sturgeon Award for best short science fiction of the year and the induction of honorees into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

This year's conference will host a number of notable science fiction authors, including Brian Aldiss, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association of America Grand Master and co-founder of the Campbell Award with Harry Harrison, who also will be honored; Greg Bear, award-winning author and chair of the advisory committee for the new Science Fiction Museum in Seattle; and Gregory Benford, award-winning author, astrophysicist at the University of California-Irvine and Campbell Award juror.

This will be the last year the conference will induct honorees into the hall of fame, which is part of the new Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle. (See related story, "Science Fiction Hall of Fame leaving Kansas City and KU for Seattle.")

The Intensive English Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction is a course that gives participants an understanding of contemporary and future science fiction through a study of how the genre has evolved. Gunn serves as the director and discussion leader. Participants are required to read a list of science fiction novels before the course begins, with a paper or short story due at the end of the course. The course offers three hours of graduate or undergraduate credit at KU.

The Writer's Retreat offers new or experienced writers a chance to interact with other writers and have their work critiqued by other retreat participants. Writers can enjoy the creative energy that develops around the workshop and other events with the freedom and privacy to use their time as they wish.

For a complete schedule of event activities, campus locations, fees and housing options, visit the Gunn Center Web site, www.ku.edu/~sfcenter/index.html.

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