International Space Station image of an aurora over Earth, 
with Mars and Venus shining bright behind the words Ad Astra Institute for Science Fiction and the Speculative Imagination
About the Ad Astra Institute   Ad Astra Institute Blog   Ad Astra Institute Workshops and Courses   Ad Astra Institute News   Ad Astra Institute Resources for Speculative Fiction Writers, Educators, and Fans

Housing for the
Ad Astra Institute's SF Summer
Speculative Fiction Writing Workshops

Exterior of Stouffer Place Apartments

For 2024, Chris McKitterick once again offers his residential two-week workshop on speculative-fiction storytelling and "Repeat Offenders" advanced spec-fic writing workshop for alums. Kij Johnson and Barbara Webb also offer their Novel Architects Workshop and "Repeat Offenders" advanced workshop. These traditionally meet in the same building to encourage cross-pollination and larger community-building. We also offer a writing retreat for alums who've worked with us before.

This year marks the centenary of our mentor and friend, James Gunn, and we're likely to celebrate his life and the effect he had on the "Young Gunns."

Workshop Housing Walkthrough and Photos

This year we plan to again stay and work in the brand-new Stouffer Place Apartments on the University of Kansas campus. It's a dorm-style structure divided into full-featured apartments.

Stouffer Place accomodations come fully furnished. Living room furniture includes a couch, two accent chairs, coffee table, two end tables, entertainment stand, and four bar stools. The full kitchens have a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer-dryer. Bedroom furniture varies slightly by number of apartment-mates.

Video tour of Stouffer Place Apartments (click to watch YouTube video)

More info and virtual tours on the Stouffer Place Apartments website.

Participants gather the day before critiquing begins, so plan to arrive on Sunday. If you wish to arrive early to settle in, please let us know so we can see if we arrange that with the Housing department. In addition to workshop sessions, you also have time for writing, recreation, socializing, and individual conferences. This workshop is very much a community-building event!

KU Housing recently gave us a tour of Stouffer Place Apartments - here follows a bunch of photos Chris took during our walkthrough of the building and the model apartment they showed us (yours will be similar but without the KU decor or TV - Chris will supply one for our group hangout space).

First up are the apartment layouts, followed by live photos:

Stouffer 2-bedroom apartment

Stouffer 2-bedroom corner apartment

Stouffer 4-bedroom apartment

View of the kitchen from the living room (with our tour guide and Kij)

Living room from the kitchen

Another living room shot

Washer-dryer near the kitchen

In a bedroom

Another bedroom shot

Bathroom in a bedroom

One of many common areas in Stouffer Place

Each building has a vending and ice area

One of many meeting areas in the building

A large meeting room with an industrial kitchen (we can request to use for large dinners)

An activities room in the building

An exercise room in the building

Layout plan of the first floor of Stouffer Apartments North building

As you can see, this place is made for us! No more shared bathrooms, no more living on cold cereal and paper plates, no more trips to the gym, and (for those who joined us before 2011) no more worrying about other occupants wandering in to our dorm gathering areas - each apartment has its own hangout space! Last year participants frequently made group dinners, saving a ton of money, too.

Stay tuned for more details about housing arrangements. As a college town in summer, Lawrence also boasts a number of AirBnB-style places, and we have worked out special prices at local hotels.

If you'd like to help future attendees, please consider making a donation!

Please complete your registration and make all payments before you arrive, unless you make special arrangements.

Meals, housing, and incidental costs rise the longer you stay, so plan appropriately.

Attendees have the opportunity to sign up for a special discount for the year-round series of upcoming Ad Astra Presents and Science into Fiction workshops, seminars, talks, and more especially designed for speculative-fiction writers and led by a variety of SF authors, editors, and scholars as well as professors and other experts in a variety of specialties to provide participants with deeper understanding of SF and the vast array of human expertise necessary to stay on top of the ever-accelerating change that shapes human civilization - and even what it means to be human. Join the Ad Astra community and reach for the stars!

Diversity, Disability, and Inclusion

Everyone enjoys equal access to our offerings, and we actively encourage students and scholars from diverse backgrounds to study. Click here to see our thoughts on diversity and inclusivity.

The Academic Achievement and Access Center (AAAC) coordinates accommodations and services for 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.

Transportation from MCI Airport to Lawrence

By car, Lawrence is at the intersection of US 59 and I-70 (Kansas Turnpike). The west interchange is closer to campus. Lawrence can also be reached along the lovely Kansas Highway 10.

The nearest major airport is Kansas City International (MCI), about 55 miles from Lawrence. Transportation to Lawrence from Kansas City International (MCI - the "M" is for "Mid-Continent") airport can be arranged through one of several airport transport services, including:


  • Reserve well in advance of your trip to confirm pricing and availability.
  • The Kansas City International Airport's official airport code is MCI - "Mid-Continent International Airport."
  • This list is for your information only. We are not affiliated with these services, and some attendees had problems with others, so do your research.



University of Kansas map.

Kansas Union map.

Lawrence bus routes and maps.

Google Maps centered on the KU Kansas Union.

Lawrence in the Summer

1992 SF Workshop
Back row: Frederik Pohl, Chris McKitterick (my first year!), John Ordover, James Gunn.
Front row: Tom Crice, Dan Gollub, Rebecca Bates, Sheila Hartney, and...

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 contains a large science-fiction collection (including a number of single-author paper and manuscript collections, such as Theodore Sturgeon's) and other great reference collections; museums of natural history and art; and sports, theater, and lots more. Lawrence offers many excellent restaurants and shopping and recreational opportunities. Kansas City is less than an hour away. Nighttime opportunities include movies, dinner, live concerts, star-gazing sessions, and of course talk about writing and more.

The nearest major airport is Kansas City International (MCI), 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) or K-10. The I-70 West Lawrence interchange is closer to campus. Lawrence can also be reached along the lovely Kansas Highway 10.

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

"Science into Fiction" Spec-Fic Writing Workshops:
  Series 1: "The Higgs Boson in This Particular Universe"
  Series 2: "Creativity and the Brain"
  Series 3: "Writing in (and about) the Age of Artificial Intelligence"
  Spring 2024 Series 4: "Six great stories and what makes them work: The science of SF writing"

Chris McKitterick's Spec-Fic Writing Workshop & Repeat Offenders Workshop

Kij Johnson & Barbara Webb's SF&F Novel Writing Workshops and Masterclasses

Speculative-fiction writing resources


Connect with Ad Astra

Ad Astra on Facebook Ad Astra on Tumblr Ad Astra on Twitter Ad Astra blog Ad Astra YouTube channel Sign up for the Ad Astra mailing list

We believe strongly in the free sharing of information, so you'll find a lot of content - including course syllabi and many materials from our classes - on this and related sites and social networks as educational outreach. Feel free to use this content for independent study, or to adapt it for your own educational and nonprofit purposes; just please credit us and link back to this website. We'd also love to hear from you if you used our materials!

This site is associated with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), AboutSF, and other organizations, and its contents are copyright 1992-present Christopher McKitterick except where noted, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License: Feel free to use and adapt for non-profit purposes, with attribution. For publication or profit purposes, please contact McKitterick or other creators as noted.

This site does not use cookies and is free from tracking.

Creative Commons License
Works on this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

updated 2/6/2024