A Very Successful Uncon!

Thankyou to all who attended (all 95 of you!) and helped to make the 2011 Unconvention in Nottingham such a roaring success! You can now see an updated list of who attended on the Attendees page and if you scroll down you can see a list of those who registered but were sadly unable to make it for the weekend.

Friday 23rd September

Quiz Winners - The Blue Virgins

For the organisers and our team of willing volunteers, the weekend kicked off early on Friday afternoon, when we began setting up the rooms and getting goodie bags together for all of the attendees. Other BookCrossers began to arrive and register for the event from 6pm and by 7:30 we had a good crowd gathered for the Friday evening quiz, who were sorted into teams by MissMarkey‘s Robin Hood sorting hat. Our quizmaster GaryJ did a brilliant job keeping us all on track and keeping the increasingly raucous quiz teams in check! The eventual winners were The Blue Virgins, with a fantastic final score of 113/140, winning them a box of rather yummy looking Bally Hood cupcakes, some Robin Hood notebooks and BookCrossing labels.

Saturday 24th September – Morning

Saturday morning started bright and early with the registration desk open from 9am, leading straight into our first author talk by Eve Makis. Eve talked about how she got into writing, interspersed with readings from her books, including an extract from her latest work in progress featuring an Armenian grumpy old man.

BookCrossers enjoying one of the many book buffet tables.

The UK Supply Store (open for one last time) did brisk trade during the morning manned by gingergeoff with some support from other BookCrossing members. Alongside the Supply Store were a wide variety of interesting tables including:

  • constantweader selling signed copies of her poetry book This Is The Me I Would Be If I Dared, two of which she kindly donated to the raffle.
  • suedo selling her beautiful and uniquely dyed baby clothes and t-shirts.
  • miketuk demonstrating an interesting home-developed app for easy bulk registration and release of books.
  • Tables for each of the authors to set up and sell and/or sign copies of their work, while meeting and greeting BookCrossers.
  • The traditional book buffet tables, which this year spread across four table including special areas for Nottingham books and children’s books.
  • A table for BookCrossing and Kiva where interested BookCrossers could find out more about this money-lending initiative.
  • A table for our Make A Ballycumber competition entries.
  • Last but definitely not least the NSS and gift table, which looked different every time I saw it, but always seemed to be overflowing (a testament to the generosity of BookCrossers!).

Stephen Booth presenting at the Nottingham BCUK Uncon

After the morning break, we were treated to our second author talk from Stephen Booth. Stephen talked about the influences on his writing and got us all thinking about whether we could murder somebody under the right circumstances – surprisingly all but one of us admitted we could! So if you want to be completely safe then visit MissMarkey, although apparently her reluctance to admit her murderous tendencies may in fact mean she is the most dangerous one of all!! Stephen enjoyed his experience of BookCrossing so much that he stayed around for much of the afternoon.

Saturday 24th September – Afternoon

After lunch on Saturday things got off to a great start with our third and final author talk from Catherine Cooper. Catherine talked about the creation of her characters (many of whom joined her for the afternoon!) and the locations in her books, as well as discussing how she got into writing and became a successful author.

The remainder of the afternoon was very busy, with the ever popular bookswap games leading into intriguing presentations from Dublin (Gizmopuddy, leamhliom, hon-no-tomo, Azureskippy helod) and Gothenburg (elisfromSweden), future hosts of the BookCrossing Convention in 2012 and 2013 respectively. These were followed by a discussion led by the regional managers (ardachy and KiwiInEngland) and a live link-up and Q&A session with Bruce at BCHQ in Idaho.

We rounded off the Saturday afternoon events with the prize giving, including the much anticipated raffle draw. The prize for best Make A Ballycumber entry was won by ApoloniaX for a rather cute felt Bally, with a runners-up prize for lytteltonwitch. Both won a selection of Nottingham branded goodies and a limited edition Bally Hood tote bag.

Presentation of raffle blanket to rahar109 by project coordinator beebarf

The themed raffle was hugely successful with raffle ticket sales reaching well over £100 for the 12 prizes on offer, the profits from which will go into the pot for the next Uncon event. Winners included Spike1972, Mai-day and the very lucky foxyfiona1986 who won two prizes! Our star prize, featuring the unique Ballycumber blanket, as well as a number of books to read and music to listen to while snuggled up, was won by rahar109.

Saturday 24th September – Evening

After a quick freshen up, several groups gathered on Saturday evening for a selection of evening meals around the centre of Nottingham, including an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, a tandoori restaurant, Ask Italian and a traditional pub just moments from the hotel entrance.

After delicious meals, many of us found ourselves back in the hotel bar, where we had chance to catch up and relax with friends both old and new. The lucky ones amongst us had neck and shoulder massages from the lovely elisfromSweden or enjoyed some loving in the last lift of the night (am not sure if anyone was fortunate enough to experience both….)!

Sunday 25th September

Bagging up books for the release walk.

Many of us struggled to get up on Sunday morning (am still sure it can’t have been as late as the clock said when we went our separate ways on Saturday night!). Despite this a huge group gathered in the hotel bar to bag up books for the traditional Sunday morning release walk (much to the confusion of other hotel guests popping down for a quiet Sunday morning breakfast!).

After singing Happy Birthday and sharing a cake with nu-knees, we headed off for the start of the walk in Nottingham’s Old Market Square. Away from the normal traditions of the release walk, our Entertainment Coordinator MissMarkey had organised the Hats Off to BookCrossing flashmob. As Sunday morning shoppers and visitors to the Ikea tent passed by, around 50 or so BookCrossers donned a variety of hats and started to read. One minute passed (in what felt to many like an hour…) before everyone threw off their hats, released their books on the steps of Nottingham Council House and disappeared into the crowd. The end of the flashmob was met with comments including ‘great flashmob’ from passers by. There were prizes for best hat, won by safrolistics and Jones-the-Strim and for best themed release, won by earthcaroleanne for her book titled Dutch Courage!

Before the release walk.

Once the prize giving and photo opportunity were over, we set off on the release walk, with 16 teams adding in a treasure hunt organised by our Local Committee Member garibaldisghost. Due to a number of over-zealous roadsweepers and street cleaners, a few of us decided to stay in the Old Market Square and hand out books in person, but at the end of the walk the majority of us met up at Ye Olde Jerusalem pub for a final meal before heading home. The last prize giving of the weekend saw treasure hunt prizes, consisting of more Nottingham branded goodies handed out to suedo, rahar109, CaterinaAnna, kittiwake and earthcaroleanne, who all scored an amazing 59/60.

To sum up what was a fantastic weekend, many new friends were made, fun times were had and books were crossed and we can’t wait to do it all again (and better!) at the next BCUK Unconvention.

A big thankyou to ardachy who took all of the photos featured in this article. If you want to see the whole range of ‘official’ photos taken over the weekend, or larger versions of those in this story, visit flickr.

About pingucb

Claire is responsible for Communications for the Convention committee.


  1. Very sorry I missed the event, but now feel as if I had been riding in someone’s bookbag, thanks to your evocative description. I LOVED the story about MissMarkey – so true!

    I’ve written a short post on BookCrossing Gossip, hoping to direct a few more BookCrossers here.



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