The social side of the RNA conference is a big part of the appeal. We go to learn. We go to get updates on industry trends, but we also go to relax and spend time with like-minded people who will admire our pretty shoes. For those of us married to sensible engineers, any comment on our shoes that doesn’t start, “Don’t you already have some like that?” is particularly appreciated.
Saturday night’s Gala dinner is the big opportunity to glam up, get your tanned bits out (fake-tanned this year obviously), drink some wine, eat some food and just have fun. For me, this year’s Gala dinner turned into a particularly fabulous night, because my short story, Feel the Fear, was announced as the winner of the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy. I started hyperventilating as soon as my story was announced as one of the top three. Fortunately, the people on my table were kind enough to remind me to breathe, and I was able to collect the award without fainting in amazement or falling off my heels.
The night after that is a cheery blur. There were lots of congratulations. There was quiet marvelling at the names, the proper grown-up writer names, already engraved on the Elizabeth Goudge cup. There was at least one moment of being made (forced, absolutely and completely against my will) to drink champagne. There was discussion about whether the champagne would taste better if I drank it out of the Elizabeth Goudge cup. But more than anything else there were new friends, genuinely chuffed to be there for someone else’s happy moment, with no jealousy or resentment, but lots of laughs and encouragement and pretty pretty shoes.
Editor Note: I couldn't resist posting these photos of Alison...her delight should be bottled!