ARRC2015: wrap-up, part 2
ARRC2015 was fun!
This year we included more opportunities than ever for authors and readers to interact. Here’s a wrap-up of some of them …
As the first official event of the convention, the welcome reception is a low-key event designed to allow delegates to meet and mingle ahead of the weekend.
The crowd was loud and everyone was happy to be at the convention and meeting up with old friends and making new acquaintances.
The welcome was followed by the trivia night. We had more than 70 people at the trivia night, which was a great turn out. The questions ranged from easy to hard to tricky and kept everyone on their toes. Teams were challenged to hand in the scored answer sheets as quickly as possible in order to win Tim Tams.
Table 1 were the winners on the night. Calling themselves ‘The Betty Neels’, the team consisted of Amy Andrews, Fiona Marsden, Juliette Arthur, Marilyn Brejza, Sarah Calder, Aimee Brooker and Pamela Diaz.
Enormous kudos to the quiz master DebK, who spent months compiling and polishing the questions for the evening. It was a mammoth task!
The awards dinner is always a highlight of the convention. This year to complement the QT’s politics-and-intrigue décor we invited dinner guests to come dressed in a 1920s theme. There were feathers and glitter as far as the eye could see.
Photo credit: TM Clark
It was a wonderful evening with great food, lots of fun and of course the excitement of the awards. You can find all the details of award winners here.
There was no shortage of blingy ladies to enter our annual bling off. Below is a small selection. The winner was Danielle Kendall in an authentic 1920s dress (third from left).
The dinner was generously sponsored by Booktopia, which meant free drinks for the evening, and Kylie Scott sponsored a photo booth where everyone kept themselves thoroughly entertained.
One of our new initiatives at ARRC2015 were our gold and silver tickets. We came up with this idea in order to provide more opportunities for readers to spend some quality time with the keynotes. At registration we gave out program handbooks and a number of these contained the gold and silver tickets.
Silver tickets entitled the holder to a spot at a morning tea with one of the keynotes, and the gold tickets were for a keynote lunch. We had rooms set aside for these events and there were only seven spots at each one, making them very exclusive. Feedback on the special tea breaks and lunches with keynote authors has been very positive. We’ve held on to the gold and silver tickets and we’ll bring them out again for the next convention.
Another new initiative this time were our mystery author tables. Authors bid for the opportunity to host a table, offering all manner of gifts and goodies for the readers. The committee had the difficult task of selecting just 18 authors to host readers at a special morning or afternoon tea. All were delighted at the chance and prepared hostess bags for their guests. All reader delegates had tickets they could enter in the draw to win a spot at one of these tables. Names were drawn and assigned randomly. We’ve had great feedback on the mystery author tables from both readers and authors, despite a few teething problems. We hope to make these even bigger and better in the future.
On the Friday before the convention we organised a short sight-seeing tour for interstate and international visitors. The three-hour tour took in sights such as the Australian War Memorial, the spectacular view of Canberra from Mount Ainslie, Parliament House, the National Gallery, Reconciliation Walk, the National Library and the National Arboretum.
Another new addition to our extras for the convention was the lunch cruise. This was held on the Monday following the convention (a public holiday in Canberra). It was a fantastic way to wind down after the full-on weekend. Thirty-eight delegates took part in the lunch cruise, including a number of authors. It was wonderfully relaxing to be on the water, with nothing to do but socialise with delegates and catch up with friends. Canberra presented the most beautiful weather for the outing.
This year for the very first time we had a Cinderella giveaway. It was all thanks to author Wendy L Curtis, who had paid for the convention but found she wasn’t able to make it. She wrote to us asking us to pass her ticket along to someone deserving.
So we put the call out, and received enthusiastic responses from nine readers who were dying to attend ARRC2015 but couldn’t afford it. And while that was happening another author, Bronwyn Turner, approached us and offered to pay the Cinderella’s accommodation.
The committee felt all those who entered the giveaway were very deserving, but alas we only had the one spot, so we made a shortlist of three and asked random.org to pick the winner, who was Laura Boon.
And then we had two more authors (Jennifer St George and Donna Gallagher) drop out and also donate their registration for a reader. In the end we added the other two ladies from the short list—Lucy Abarcia and Rosalie Franklin—to our Cinderellas, and all three got to go to the ball.
Another new addition this year was our fashion parade. This was not any regular fashion parade, but showcased historical costumes, along with some characters from Georgette Heyer novels.
Jennifer Kloester was the MC for the event and provided an entertaining commentary of both the outfits and the characters she had chosen to wear them.
The fashion parade ended up being very entertaining and I think the audience thoroughly enjoyed it.
Many thanks to all our models (left to right): Beverley Eikli (as Lady Jane Saxby), Alison Stuart (as Lady Elizabeth Kentmere), Bronwyn Parry (as Lady Bellingham), Bronwyn’s niece Lauren Sadow (as Miss Margaret Tallant), Jennifer Kloester, Melissa Craig (as Lady Mary Torrington) and Aylwen Gardiner-Garden.
(The audio from the fashion parade will be included on the ARRC2015 CD, so you can catch up with all the salacious gossip that was shared.)
That’s the full wrap-up! If you missed out on the convention this year, be sure to keep an eye on our blog for the announcement of the next convention, to be held in 2017!