We Want Your Feedback!

We have a small favor to ask you.

As Unbound continues to grow and develop, so does our responsibility to be more accountable and more responsive to our community's wishes and needs.  We can't do that properly without your participation - and so we would love to know how you think we're doing.

So, please, if you can spare a moment, drop us a line and tell us what you think about the festival. What did you like? What didn't you like? Are there things you would like to see more of? Are there particular writers or genres or topics that you think we should cover?

In a nutshell, we're asking: how can we make the festival better?

If you have a few moments, we'd really appreciate it if you would share your thoughts with us. We have deliberately made this form as general as possible, because we don't want to prescribe the limits of what people tell us about. Feel free to share your thoughts on anything you think might be helpful. We want to know what you think.

Thanks so much!

Posted on June 18, 2018 .

Remember This?

Hard to believe that this was only a month ago.

This lovely film was put together by Shane Epping and his team and we think it beautifully captures the spirit and the energy of this year's festival. We hope it captured a few of your memories, too. Enjoy!

Posted on May 23, 2018 .

Thank You.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's festival - the authors, the volunteers, the staff and students at Stephens College - and, of course, to everyone who came to attend an event. What an incredible day it was. We're all under doctor's orders to stay in bed for a week, but here are a few photos, taken by Michael Cali, of what went on on Saturday. More to come later.

Posted on April 23, 2018 .

What. A. Night.

Zadie Smith and Camille Dungy in the Missouri Theatre last night were incredible. Brilliant, funny, insightful, wholly original. Here are a few photos for you. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have a festival to go and put on...

Posted on April 21, 2018 .

Unbound 2018 is Under Way!


Launched on an ocean of local whiskey and buoyed by slices of delicious homemade pie, this year's Unbound Book Festival got under way last night with Pie and Whiskey, a sold-out event that featured twelve writers and poets reading pieces - about pie, or whiskey, or both - written specially for the occasion. Our thanks to Michael Czyzniejewski, Gabriel Fried, Nina Mukerjee Furstenau, Alex George, Kate Lebo, Dana Levin, Samuel Ligon, Robert Lopez, Phong Nguyen, Kate Nuernberger, Robin Sloan, and Steve Yarbrough for their performances. Thank you to our wonderful pie-makers (that was a lot of pie) and to our friends at Dogmaster Distillery for being so generous with their delicious whiskeys. Thanks to our amazing volunteers, always. And to Shane Epping for these photos!

 Nina Mukerjee Furstenau

Nina Mukerjee Furstenau

 Sam Ligon

Sam Ligon

 Kate Lebo

Kate Lebo

 Dana Levin

Dana Levin

 Robert Lopez

Robert Lopez


Posted on April 20, 2018 .

Events for Writers!

Unbound is primarily designed for audiences of readers, but every year we put on a couple of events designed to interest and engage writers and would-be writers. And there are a lot of those in this town.

From 2:00 to 4:00 in the Warehouse Theatre, Melissa Stan from The Story Center Program in Kansas City will be giving a workshop with tips on how to edit and refine your work through skills developed by oral storytellers. Attendees can put their story to the two-minute test and see where their story needs work.  They will learn about the importance of word flow, choice, and tempo and get an idea of how your story sounds in the heads of readers.  This workshop will provide invaluable insight and tips for both experienced and beginner writers alike. Bring some of your writing with you to work on!

 Melissa Stan

Melissa Stan

Earlier in the day (10:00, to be exact) we're putting on a panel about self-publishing. As self-publishing technology continues to develop, more and more people are publishing their work without the need for “traditional” publishers. These days anyone can publish their novel that’s been sitting forgotten in that bottom drawer. Come and discover some of the tricks of the trade from this panel of experts – two successful self-published authors, a graphic designer, and a representative from IngramSpark, one of the largest companies offering self-publishing services. Come ready to ask questions!


Posted on April 11, 2018 .

Unbind Our Minds...

As we hurtle toward the finishing line, a post from Ameerah Sanders, one of the festival's excellent interns!


The Unbound Book Festival is soon upon us. To me, Unbound is another one of Columbia’s hidden gems that makes Columbia a secret oasis of cultural stimulation. Like the True False Film Festival, Unbound brings art and artists that mid-Missouri folk might not be exposed to first hand. I recall my attendance of Juno Diaz’s speech on his writing and his role in the art world. I was inspired to say the least. Hearing from someone so accomplished and talented can make you want to be accomplished and talented yourself. Having guest speakers such as Zadie Smith bring in more of the world to central Missouri’s doorstep. Like a 3rd grade book fair, I am excited to roam around the festival and grab every novel I can and talk to every person I meet because there is a wealth of knowledge and experience to be shared.

Every town should have non-profits like Unbound. This will be my first year but if it is anything like True/False, it’s sure to be hectic in the best way. I am most excited for the Pie and Whiskey event. It is what it sounds like: a merry gathering of writers and readers who enjoy the stories that good food and good booze can generate. And I am sure there will be many stories to come out of the Unbound Book Festival. 

Posted on April 10, 2018 .

Poems While You Wait

We are always looking to introduce new and unique experiences to the festival to help make your day a little more memorable. This year we're proud to introduce POEMS WHILE YOU WAIT, the brainchild of Unbound guest, novelist, critic, and poet, Kathleen Rooney.


The idea of Poems While You Wait is simple enough. There will be a team of poets amassed behind manual typewriters in the foyer of the Macklanburg Playhouse throughout the day on Saturday. Tell them what you would like them to compose a poem about - you can be as general or as specific as you like - and by the time your event is over, a hand-typed, custom-made, one-of-a-kind original poem will be waiting for you - either to keep for yourself or to give as a gift. Either way, it will be a unique memento of this year’s festival. All for this the princely sum of $5, which goes to benefit the wonderful independent (and not-for-profit) publisher, Rose Metal Press.

Kathleen and her cohorts have been spreading this brand of poetic love around the country since 2011. For more examples of their work, check out their Tumblr feed here.

Posted on April 7, 2018 .

Elephant Poems


Remember this beauty?

This is Penelope, who appeared at the first Unbound, back in 2016. She is a rare breed of elephant, from the genus Elephas Maximus Poetica, whose principal purpose is to bring joy to the world via the magic of magnetic poetry. 

She was supposed to be featured last year, too, until her left hind leg was accidentally knocked off as she was being unloaded from the van, on her way into the Ballroom. Such are the perils of the literary life.

Anyway, we're pleased to report that Penelope has staged a full recovery (thanks, Dan Goldstein) and will be back this year. We're asking people to make up poems using the magnetic words provided, take a photo of the poem, and then post it to twitter using the hashtag #elephantpoems. We'll re-post the best of them and the one we judge the winner will receive a book signed by one of our festival guests.

Posted on April 3, 2018 .

It's finally here... Saturday's schedule!

You've been asking for it for some time now, but it's finally ready. Here's the schedule of literary goodness for Saturday, April 21, at Stephens College. Details of the various talks and panels will be appearing on the front page of the website shortly, but you can read about the various authors mentioned on the author page right now.

Start making your plans!

Posted on April 3, 2018 .