On September 30th, we gathered in Hinckley, UK, with booksellers from across the UK for the British bookselling event of the year: the Bookselling Association of UK and Ireland’s annual conference. Through the RISE Bookselling programme, we brought 9 international booksellers from all corners of the world with us, and we were all buzzing with excitement for the upcoming days.
The event kicked off with a traditional English afternoon tea in the company of up-and-coming authors who presented their new works to us – to the delight of all with a sweet tooth and a penchant for literature. After getting a few advance copies of the authors’ works signed, we were swept away to the customary drinks for new and old attendees. There we mingled, happy to see new and old faces and discuss bookish things. The evening continued in a crescendo of delicious meals and the thrilling discovery of new literary talents, as more authors had been invited to speak to us during our dinner. Around midnight, the party retired to bed to enjoy some beauty sleep before the following day’s exciting activities.
The following day started with a bang as Clive Myrie, journalist, newsreader and presenter for the BBC, spoke to a room full of attentive booksellers about his new memoir Everything is Everything. Clive shared heartfelt accounts from his upbringing and exhilarating stories from his professional life covering conflicts and pivotal events across the globe, and the audience couldn’t get enough.
This was followed by an inspirational and uplifting keynote speech by BA President Hazel Broadfoot, after which we once again had the joy of listening to the talented Iris Hunscheid tell us about the exciting German project harnessing AI to the benefit of bookselling. (If you missed this presentation at the RISE conference in Prague or at the BA conference in Hinckley, don’t fret – you'll get another chance at the EIBF conference in Frankfurt! Find out more here)
Next, we were off to the skills lab sessions! Ever wondered how to create your ideal bookshop culture, how to handle authorless events or how to have effective conversations to solve conflicts? All this and more was presented, discussed and debated during the afternoon in Hinckley, leaving all attendees full of ideas and an eagerness to get to work incorporating everything in their bookshops.
The event was concluded by another literary dinner, where conversations soared, and the food was accompanied by funny and witty speeches from outstanding children’s book authors. After these two days filled with fantastic speakers, insightful and practical sessions, and overall so much passion for bookselling, the EIBF / RISE team and our RISE international booksellers left Hinckley full of ideas, connections and inspiration!