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The fourth Australian Romance Readers Convention was held from Friday 6 March to Sunday 8 March 2015 at the QT Hotel in Canberra.
The convention featured Helene Young, Kelley Armstrong, Victoria Dahl and Sylvia Day as keynote speakers. In all more than 90 authors, including bestselling and favourite authors from around Australia, attended the convention.
On Friday evening the convention opened with our traditional welcome reception, where authors and readers were able to mingle and chat. Following the welcome we held our first trivia night. The trivia was by turns fun, entertaining and sometimes a bit tricky.
On Saturday the program was packed. We started off with a keynote address from Helene Young on 'girl power', followed by two launches-The Road to Hope by Rachael Johns and Tribal Law by Shannon Curtis. Then followed three concurrent streams talking about a wide range of topics, plus two special sessions-speed dating and alpha hero poker. These last two were fun activities that gave readers a chance to interact directly with authors. Following Kelley Armstrong's keynote speech on how romance has influenced her writing, the last event of the afternoon was our book-signing event, which was truly epic with 89 authors signing. That evening the winners of the 2014 Australian Romance Readers Awards were announced at the awards dinner. Details of the winners can be found here.
The Sunday program was much more relaxed. Victoria Dahl inspired everyone with her keynote speech. This was followed by a Regency fashion parade that was great fun. The rest of the day was taken up with four concurrent session streams, and then the day was rounded our with Sylvia Day's speech on the importance of reading.
The convention was an enormous success. With a total of 279 attending, it was equal in size to the first convention in Melbourne. With the new initiatives introduced at this convention we think that this was the best convention yet!
Major thanks are due to the OC members: Cora Wright, Debbie Phillips, Kaetrin Allen and Deb Klanfar. Thanks also to the other EC members attending-Heather Kopp and Wendy Geeves-as well as Brooke Moody (volunteer coordinator) and Jennifer Wu (design).
Our thanks also to the panel moderators - Adele Walsh, Amanda Knight, Danielle Binks, Deb Allen, Gina Gallimore, Heather Kopp, Helen Sibbritt, Jeanie Misko, Kaetrin Allen, Kat Mayo, Kate Cuthbert, Kelly Hunter, Sharon Sherry-for their hard work in preparing for and running the panel discussions.
Finally, thank you to those who volunteered some of their time during the convention to help make sure it all ran smoothly: Amanda, Amy, Anna, Barbara, Brooke, Carole, Cathy, Deb, Diana, Evelyn, Gina, Helen, Jacqueline, Kimberley, Laine, Lillian, Louise, Maggie, Samantha, Shannon.
A complete wrap-up of ARRC2015 is available here: Part 1 and Part 2.
Further information on the convention is available on our blog.
Quotes from delegates:
Thank you so much, ARRC, for an absolutely fabulous weekend, including the fun extras like the bus tour, trivia night, lake cruise, etc. The hotel was great and the conference awesome, beautifully run and thoroughly enjoyable. I had a ball, and am going home with lots of lovely books, yay! Such fun! My first ARRC and hopefully the first of many. I hope the hard-working committee can now rest and relax a little; you deserve every kudos. Well done, and heartfelt thanks. PS Huge thanks for organising [the lunch cruise]. It was the perfect wind-down, just lovely to sit, eat, chat and relax after the hectic weekend. And a perfect day to be on the lake! Absolutely loved it.
I can't thank you enough. It's been one the best experiences I've had in years. I'm overwhelmed by my good luck. All the goodies as I registered and then more. I won three book prizes, morning tea with Barbara Hannay, lunch with Helene Young and catching up with people who actually remembered me! It was an incredible convention, full of excellent speakers. I'm taking away excellent info and food for thought. We have a bevy of incredibly talented Australian authors too and I'll be adding heaps more to my reading list. I really hope I'm in a better position in two years, to make the next one, and those thereafter. Thank you and everyone for all the wonderful work you put in. I just hope you all got some time to enjoy it too. Lots of love from a very satisfied and happy participant.
Thanks to all the authors, organising committee, executive committee, volunteers, readers and anyone I've missed who was involved in a fantastic convention this weekend.
The organisation of the convention was excellent. ARRA is to be congratulated on the event. It was full of interest and variety. The gold and silver cards were a great opportunity to meet authors. Having morning tea with Kelley Armstrong was a highlight for me.
I loved everything I went to and thought the organisation was fabulous. It was a really well run, friendly event.
Everything was well planned and went well. I was thoroughly entertained all weekend. I did love the extras like the sightseeing cruise and the bus. Well done. Would love that again as options.
I enjoyed meeting new authors and catching up with authors and fellow readers that I met at ARRC2013, it was like catching up with old friends.
Lunch with Kelley Armstrong was a dream of mine and you made that come true. Trivia night was the best laugh that I have had.
I loved the book signing where the booklet gave an excuse to talk to authors without feeling you ought to buy.
I enjoyed the enthusiasm and welcoming attitude of most attendees, including the committee, authors and fans alike. I found Sylvia's keynote at the end summed it up: books unite and start conversations. I was very grateful for all of the committee's efforts, commitment and professionalism.
The speed-dating was a marvellous opportunity to meet and chat with readers. I met people I might not have otherwise met. It was a terrific idea, I loved it.
I enjoyed catching up with friends and the keynote author lunch and mystery author afternoon tea (both great additions to the convention events).
Quotes from authors:
Sending a huge thanks to the conference team for putting together such a fabulous, interesting and varied program. I not only had a great time, but came away inspired and energised. The Canberra QT last weekend was certainly the place to be. ~ Michelle Douglas
I just wanted to quickly write and tell you how impressed I was with the organisation of ARRC15. It was my first time at the convention, but certainly won't be my last. I had a fabulous weekend and met lots of wonderful people. Congratulations on a spectacular event and thank you for all the time and effort you obviously put in. I can't wait for the next one! ~ Lisa Ireland
A mega congrats to the convention team for doing such a stellar job - the weekend was awesome :) ~ Helene Young
That was a blast of a weekend! Had a great time, never ceases to amaze me the power of women as volunteers. Why aren't we ruling the world? Probably because it's so exhausting. Rest up Debbie, Cora and the rest of the team! You certainly deserve it. ~ Keziah Hill
It was my first ARRC but it won't be my last. I had a ball meeting readers and catching up with writer friends. Thank you so much to all the ARRC team for putting together such a wonderful event. ~ Cassandra Samuels
I have just returned from my first ARRC and I had a wonderful time. Thank you so much for organising this great weekend. I met so many wonderful people. You should all be so proud of how fantastic it all turned out. ~ Maggie Mundy
Had a ball at ARRC! Congratulations to all the winners and nominees on Saturday night. A huge vote of thanks to the committee who ran a wonderful convention. Lovely to meet all my old friends and make new ones! ~ Anna Campbell
I just wanted to add a MASSIVE THANK YOU to you and the ARRA team for putting on such a wonderful weekend … This was my first ever ARRA convention and it won't be my last. I absolutely LOVED it and met so many wonderful readers and a few new-to-me authors. I've been involved in the RWA conferences before and I know how much work goes into putting on an event like yours so I take my hat off to everyone involved in ARRC15-well done to you all and thank you for all the hard work and effort you put into it. ~ Alli Sinclair
What a weekend! Huge and heartfelt thanks to the organising committee, Debbie, Cora and Deb, and to all the volunteers who put so much effort into the great success of ARRC. It was brilliant. I had a ball and so did everyone I spoke to, and if there were hitches, I certainly didn't notice any. So well done, cheers and thank you hugs to all involved. ~ Cathryn Hein
Huge thanks to the ARRC committee from me too. This was my first fabulous ARRC and won't be my last. ~ Alissa Callen
It was wonderful to meet people I already knew, both readers and writers, and readers/writers. Had a great time, came back with a huge list of books to check out on google!! Thank you so much to everyone who organised the ARRA convention, such a wonderful job, which took a lot of dedication and time. Looking forward to the next ARRC!!! ~ Angela Verdenius
You have DONE IT AGAIN!!! I had the best time at the QT in Canberra this weekend-fab location, awesome food, fun and informative panels and delicious people. Great variety of keynote speakers. The buzz on the convention floor was fantastic. Thanks for allowing me to launch The Road to Hope at such an awesome event. I hope you all have a good rest now. ~ Rachael Johns
Thank you for such a fabulous weekend! It was my first ARRC and won't be my last ~ Alissa Callen
Thank you for a brilliant weekend. ARRC gets better with ever conference you organise. I had a ball, learned heaps and loved seeing everyone again. And of course, a special thanks for an incredibly memorable awards dinner. Looking forward to ARRC2017 ~ Jess Dee
Thanks for organising such a fantastic convention. I had a ball - as did everyone I spoke to! ~ Beverley Eikli