For fans of the written word, Columbia, Missouri, is the place to be April 19 through 21 as the Unbound Book Festival returns for the third year.
Designed to celebrate literature in many of its forms, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and more, the festival is free to attend.
The festival’s activities take place predominantly on the historic Stephens College campus in downtown Columbia. Events include discussions, panels, readings, book signings, performances and special events with ample opportunities to meet the attending best-selling authors.
The festival also was cited as a major reason Columbia was recently listed as one of the “20 must-see literary destinations around the world” by the Expedia travel blog.
The festival is the brainchild of Columbia resident Alex George, author of six books, including “A Good American” and last year’s “Setting Free the Kites,” Unbound was launched in 2016 to much fanfare among the community and the literary community as a whole.
“It’s been amazing how well the festival has been received,” George said. “We were hoping to put together a good festival that people would enjoy, but no one was expecting the enthusiasm and response we’ve gotten, not just from the community but the authors, as well. It’s been wonderful.”
A total of 65 renowned authors will be on hand over the course of the weekend to talk about their work and their lives.
Programs for 2018 include topics such as food writing, writing biographies of iconic Americans, self-publishing, 21st Century feminism, boxing and poetry, historical fiction and more.
Unbound officially kicks off the evening of April 19 with a new event titled “Pie and Whiskey,” which takes place at Orr Street Studios, 106 Orr Street in the North Village Arts District on the northside of downtown Columbia. The event is based on the entertaining “Pie and Whiskey” reading series launched in the Pacific Northwest by authors Sam Ligon and Kate Lebo, who moderate the event. Twelve other participating authors will read stories written specially for this event about pie and/or whiskey. Those in attendance will receive a slice of pie, and audience members ages 21 and older can get a free shot of whiskey.
Tickets for Pie and Whiskey are currently sold out, but visitors can always try their luck at the door. Admission is free.
Events taking place on April 20 include the “Spring Forward Poetry Reading,” a reading featuring six different poets at Fretboard Coffee, 1013 E. Walnut Street. The events lead up to a special presentation at 7:30 p.m. by the award-winning novelist and essayist Zadie Smith at the historic Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth Street.
Smith’s first novel, “White Teeth,” written at the age of 25, won multiple prizes and awards and catapulted her to the forefront of the literary scene. Since that time, she has published four additional novels, including her most recent, “Swing Time,” as well as two collections of essays and a handful of short stories. During “White Teeth,” Smith will be interviewed by acclaimed poet and essayist Camille Dungy, an American Book Award winner.
On April 21, attendees can look forward to hearing from and meeting many other authors, including Amy Dickinson, author of the popular syndicated “Ask Amy” advice column and author of two bestselling memoirs; Therese Anne Fowler, author of the bestselling “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald,” which has been turned into an original television series by Amazon Studios; the award-winning John Kessel, author of multiple novels, including “The Moon and the Other,” as well as his recently released book, “Pride and Prometheus;” Christina Baker Kline, who wrote the bestselling novel “The Orphan Train,” which has been published in 38 countries and featured as the “One Book, One Read” selection for over 100 communities and colleges; the poet, novelist and essayist Kathleen Rooney; and Steve Yarbrough, author of 10 award-winning novels, including his newest, “The Unmade World,” among many other award-winning and best-selling authors.
All panels and author conversations take place April 21 on the grounds of the Stephens College campus, 1200 E. Broadway. Venues range in size from a 330-seat theater to a smaller, more intimate 75-seat parlor. Events run concurrently and begin as early as 10 a.m., and the last events of the day begin at 4:15 p.m. Admission to all events is free and based on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is suggested attendees show up early to the events of their choice.
Throughout the festival, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase books from the visiting authors and have their books signed. An Independent Author Fair, featuring 16 local, independently published authors speaking about their work, will be set up in Kimball Ballroom in Lela Raney Wood Hall on the Stephens campus and will be open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
For more information about the festival, visit www.UnboundBookFestival.com or follow the event on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/unboundbookfestival. For additional information, email email@example.com.
For more information about other events in the Columbia area, call the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800.652.0987 or visit www.VisitColumbiaMO.com.