Mary Robinette Kowal Announced as Chair of Discon III
She’s replacing William Lawhorn, who stepped down in late June, in the wake of some various and persistent communication issues at the convention, which among other things occasioned the resigning of the committee in charge of the Hugo Awards (twice, not a great sign), and other staffers as well. The full press release announcing Mary Robinette’s assumption of the role is here.
Readers here will not be surprised to learn that I think this is a wise and excellent choice on the part of Discon III. Mary Robinette is my friend and also served as my Vice President for two years when I was president of SFWA, and of course became president of SFWA in her own right in 2019, with her tenure ending literally this last midnight. So both personally and professionally I have seen her at work close up for a decade and a half. Mary Robinette is extraordinarily competent, knowledgeable and empathetic; able to handle a lot of work and also able to delegate to excellent people; and has the ability to connect with science fiction fans and pros both old and new. She’s also been of service to previous Worldcons, notably 2018’s edition in San Jose. She knows the terrain and the stakeholders.
With that said: She’s also basically parachuting in at, if not the last minute, then at least far enough along that I suspect she’s going to be spending at least a little time playing catchup. And also, she is one person, who does not have dictatorial powers; she has to manage relationships with a whole lot of people. I am confident in her ability to do so, but I also don’t pretend there might not be hiccups and some bumps in the road ahead, which would happen regardless of who was in charge. I do hope people will exercise patience; I believe it will be rewarded.
I’m delighted for the convention that they managed to convince Mary Robinette to come on board. They and she have my support, for all that’s worth. And of course I have every intention of attending Discon III this December. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun, thanks to the efforts of this Worldcon and its new chair.