Campbell Conference

The John W. Campbell Conference

Normally held annually at the University of Kansas (except for the special joint event in 2007 with SFRA and the Heinlein Centennial), 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.

This year’s Conference begins when MidAmeriCon II opens its doors. Planning is in the early stages, so check back for more details. Full schedule TBA as we evaluate presentation proposals.

Speakers & Special Guests

The Campbell Memorial Award

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the best science-fiction novel of the year is one of the three major annual awards for science fiction. The first Campbell Award was presented at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1973. Since then the Award has been presented in various parts of the world: at California State University at Fullerton; at St. John’s College, Oxford; at the World SF Writers Conference in Dublin; in Stockholm; at the World SF meeting in Dublin again; the University of Kansas; and in a joint event with the SFRA Convention in Kansas City in 2007.

Since 1979, the Campbell Award has been presented during the Campbell Conference Awards Banquet at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, as the focal point of a weekend of discussions about the writing, illustration, publishing, teaching, and criticism of science fiction. This year it will be presented at MidAmericon II.

The Award was created to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine, now named Analog. Campbell, who edited the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1971, is called by many writers and scholars the father of modern science fiction. Writers and critics Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss established the award in Campbell’s name as a way of continuing his efforts to encourage writers to produce their best possible work.

Selection Process & Previous Winners (great place to find new books to read!)

The Theodore F. Sturgeon Memorial Award

The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction of the year was established in 1987 by James Gunn, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU, and the heirs of Theodore Sturgeon, including his partner Jayne Engelhart Tannehill and Sturgeon’s children, as an appropriate memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction.

Sturgeon, born in 1918, was closely identified with the Golden Age of science fiction, 1939-1950, and is often mentioned alongside Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and A. E. van Vogt as one of the four writers who established and led the way through that time. All four published their first SF stories in 1939, usually identified as the start of the Golden Age, and Sturgeon was famous for providing the heart.

In addition to fiction (his best-known novel is the classic, More Than Human), Sturgeon also wrote book reviews, poetry, screenplays, radio plays, and television plays, including two classic teleplays for the original Star Trek. He was a popular lecturer and teacher, and was a regular visiting author during the Intensive English Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction. Sturgeon died in 1985.

His books, manuscripts, and papers have been deposited at the University of Kansas, as he wished. See this page for news and information about the 2011 acquisition, valued at over $600,000.

Selection Process & Previous Winners