SACRAMENTO—We did it. A virtual convention. And last night was the final piece—the live awards ceremony. And a million moving pieces (multiple Zoom rooms, different audio feeds, camera angles, monitors, cue cards, and fuzzy slippers) fell into place. As did everything else.
We had a packed crowd at Virtual Bouchercon 2020. They attended from home, obviously, but that had benefits. We had people join us who wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, from readers stuck at home due to health concerns to writers like Ian Rankin, who joined a panel from his home in Edinburgh, Scotland.
It was sad not to have the typical gabfests that take place in the hotel bar and lobby at a normal Bouchercon, but a wonderful thing happened. People adapted the space they had. They turned the chat function on Zoom panels into a combination of Q&A and cocktail party chatter. The panelists became more involved in the questions than they are at an in-person event, and audience members could greet one another without interrupting anything that was going on with the panel discussion. One commenter said: “chat is the new bar,” and he was so right.
I’ll leave you with a few photos. I’m so proud of our team, and so, so grateful to the mystery community for a wonderful two days.
|A Zoom rehearsal with award nominees, who were patient and charming as we ironed out the technical glitches.|
|Getting the microphones ready.|
|Rae James and Michele Drier, the 2020 co-chairs, and all-around superheroes.|
|Presenting the Anthony Award for Best Anthology to Shawn Reilly Simmons and Verena Rose.|