Annual Sturgeon Symposium

The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction is excited to announce our 2nd Annual Sturgeon Symposium (Wed. 9/20 – Fri. 9/22/2023), celebrating the 30th anniversary of Octavia Butler's groundbreaking novel, The Parable of the Sower. As KU's choice for the 2023 Common Book program, this novel is a powerful inspiration for our Symposium's theme, "Fantastic Worlds, Fraught Futures." The Symposium will feature Noël Sturgeon's presentation of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best science fiction short story and a reading from this year's winner.

More on the Sturgeon Award here

At CSSF, we celebrate the diverse community of students, scholars, creators, and fans who engage with speculative modes, challenging our conceptions of what is possible.  As Octavia Butler writes in Parable of the Sower, "All that you touch, / You Change. / All that you Change / Changes you." Butler's work reminds us of the transformative power of speculative fiction and its ability to inspire change and community in the face of the unknown. 

We welcome all individual papers, fully formed panels, and roundtables exploring "Fantastic Worlds, Fraught Futures," particularly those prioritizing collaboration and dialogue across communities, and creative work from Indian Nations, such as the Kaw, Osage, and others whose homelands KU stands. Please note that, while we will make the Symposium available virtually, virtual presenters will be grouped together; unlike 2022, we will not be organizing panels that mix virtual and in-person presentations.   

Questions? Contact


2022 Symposium Videos

Visit the links below to watch video from our 2022 Sturgeon Symposium.

"Teaching SF in the Current Age" (Vimeo)
Password: JamesGunn!

"The Current State of SF" (Vimeo)
Password: JamesGunn!

"Indigenous Writers of Speculative Fiction" Creative Writing Reading & Roundtable (CrowdCast)

2022 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award Ceremony (CrowdCast)

1st Annual Sturgeon Symposium

  • Thursday, September 29 - Friday, September 30, 2022

  • The Hall Center, University of Kansas



We are grateful for contributions by these generous sponsors:

  • Cindy Reiss-Clark
  • The Commons
  • The Hall Center for the Humanities
  • KU Office of Research

and the following Departments, Programs, and Centers: 

  • English
  • Global and International Studies
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Latin American & Caribbean Studies
  • Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies
  • Slavic, German, and Eurasian Languages and Literatures
  • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS)
  • Spanish and Portuguese
  • French, Francophone and Italian Studies
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