The hotel - Rydges Capital Hill - has some beautiful public areas. The atrium is filled with palms and plantings under a high dome. It's simply lovely. There are plenty of places to sit and talk if you want a coffee as opposed to the noisier bar - and given talking and meeting up with other like minded con goers is a big part of any con this is very desirable. Then there was the luxury of free wi-fi in our rooms. Woohoo!
So much happened, I met so many fascinating people and there were so many wonderful experiences that it's not possible to list them all. This will be only a few of the highlights. For someone like me a con aimed in large part at writers and readers will always be a joy and Conflux 9 was full of information and opportunities to chat with others in the business.
Let's start with the panels. There were so many and they were all interesting. Often there would be three equally intriguing ones on at the same time. The guests of honour were Marc Gascoigne, Nalo Hopkinson, Karen Miller and Kaaron Warren but there were so many others there - authors like Glenda Larke, Kate Forsythe, Patty Jansen, Jason Nahrung, Cat Sparks, Terry Dowling, Lisa Hannett, Keri Arthur, Richard Harland, Jack Dann, my Clarion South mates Laura E. Goodin, Peter Ball, Jess Irwin and Jason Fischer and my roomies, Carol Ryles and Satima Flavell and that barely touches the list of writers present. Then there were the publishers like Tehani Wessely, Alisa Krasnostein and Russell B. Farr and agents like Tara Wynne and Alex Adsett. I spent my time torn about which panels to attend and wishing I could go to them all.
The Kaffeeklatsches. I managed to go to four - Glenda Larke, Marc Gascoigne, Kate Forsythe and Keri Arthur. The informal nature of these gatherings where a ten lucky participants get to sit, chat and ask questions of industry professionals means they are incredibly useful in giving an insight into the industry. I learned so much and in many ways these were the real highlights for me.
Of course there were book launches but I only got to a few of them. This was probably a good thing as I always tend to buy the book being launched. This is good in many ways but then you have to get them home. In case you haven't noticed books weigh a lot and, in some perverse synchronicity, the pull along handles on both my carry on bag and suitcase chose to break so getting any more print books would have been a challenge but there is always my trusty e-reader. There will be visits to on-line sellers to reload that soon. I did get into the dealers' room for a short time though and I now have Richard Harland's Song of the Slums, Cat Sparks's short story collection, The Bride Price and Kate Forsyth's The Wild Girl in my to be read pile.
There were other activities - steampunk themed high tea, cocktail party, Regency banquet, Masquerade Ball, the Ditmars (you can see the winners here) and possibly the best closing ceremony I've been too.
As I said these are only highlights. There was so much going on all the time that if you were so inclined you could have been going from one thing to another all day from the 9:30 AM start until the panels finished any time between 10:00 and 11:00 PM - and that was just panels, readings and so on.
All in all, a wonderful convention. Canberra and Conflux 9 - you did us proud.