Wellington has been selected as the host for the 78th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) from 29 July to 2 August 2020, the first time the event has been held in New Zealand.
The convention will be called CoNZealand, and George R.R. Martin, author of the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire which sparked the TV series Game of Thrones has been announced as the Master of Ceremonies.
Official guests of honour will be American fantasy writer Mercedes Lackey and her artist/novelist husband Larry Dixon, Australian science fiction author Rose Mitchell, and Wellington concept designer, artist, writer and sculptor Greg Broadmore.
The decision was announced today at Worldcon 76 in San Jose. The successful New Zealand bid received 643 votes of the 726 votes cast. There were no other official candidates.
WorldCon has been held annually since the first event in New York in 1939, except for the years 1942 to 1945.
It is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society, which administers and presents the Hugo Awards, the oldest and most noteworthy award for science fiction. This year, N. K. Jemisin completed a trilogy hat-trick, winning the Hugo for The Stone Sky, the final novel in her Broken Earth trilogy. She is the first author ever to wing three Hgos in a row, and it is the first series to ever win for every single book in the series.
Other awards are presented at Worldcon at the discretion of the individual convention committee. These often include the national SF awards of the host country, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Sidewise Award, the Prometheus Award and the Chesley Awards.
Co-chairs of CoNZealand Kelly Buehler and Norman Cates (above) were excited to announce the success of the bid, which started back in 2010 ahead of Aussiecon Four, in a somewhat random fashion that you can read about here.
In a Facebook video, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern issued a personal invitation to overseas SF fans to visit Wellington for CoNZealand, and urged visitors to consider an extended stay in New Zealand.