Barney Saltzberg: has guitar, will travel

We're thrilled to announce that Barney Saltzburg, bestselling children's author and performer, will be coming to Unbound to entertain our youngest audience members.

Barney is the author of more than 50 books for children, including Beautiful Oops!, A Little Bit of Oomph!, Arlo Needs Glasses, Good Egg, and the bestselling Touch and Feel Kisses series, with over 800,000 copies in print.

In addition to writing and illustrating children’s books, he has recorded two albums for children: Where, Oh, Where’s My Underwear? and, most recently, The Soccer Mom from Outer Space (based on his book of the same title). His songs have been recorded by Shari Lewis for Charlie Horse Music Pizza. He has also written and produced songs for the PBS show Arthur. He loves to sing with children of all ages.

Whether he’s writing, illustrating, recording a song, or traveling to a school to talk to students, he loves waking up in the morning and diving in. He never knows where the creative process will take him. It’s always a magical journey! Barney lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two dogs, and a pond full of fish.

Posted on February 27, 2017 .

Let's Talk About Books... with Will Schwalbe

One of the purposes of our little festival is to encourage people to talk about the books they read. We believe that although reading is an inherently private act, discussing those books with others is a fulfilling and enlightening thing. (Hence, book clubs.) Consequently we could not be more pleased to announce that bestselling author Will Schwalbe will be coming to Unbound this year.  Will is the author of two phenomenal and beloved titles about books and reading, and there is probably nobody on the planet better qualified to talk about the joys and rewards of cracking open a good book. Will will be in conversation with Vivien Jennings, owner of the fabulous Rainy Days Books in Kansas City, and will also be appearing on a couple of panels throughout the day. Be sure to come with pen and paper; there will be book recommendations, and you'll want to take notes. 

Will Schwalbe has worked in publishing (currently with Macmillan); in new media (as founder of, and as a journalist.  His previous book was The End Of Your Life Book Club, which spent twelve weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in hardcover and paperback, was named an Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year, was one of Amazon's top four best books of the year, won an Indie Choice Honor Award, and was awarded the Books for A Better Life Award for Best Inspirational Memoir. It has been translated into ten languages. He is also the author with David Shipley of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better. His new book. Books for Living, is a memoir that describes the role that reading can play in our lives, and celebrates some specific books that can help us live each day more fully and with more meaning. 

Posted on February 22, 2017 .

Susannah Nevison

On the subject of amazing young poets, allow us to introduce Susannah Nevison, another wonderfully talented poet who will be joining us in April. Like Molly Brown, Susannah is another winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry.

Susannah Nevison is the author of Teratology (Persea Books, 2015), which won the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry. New work can be found in, or is forthcoming from, Crazyhorse, The National Poetry Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, Guernica, and elsewhere. She is a 2016 Clarence Snow Fellow at the University of Utah, where she is a doctoral candidate. We're so pleased to be welcoming Susannah to Columbia!

Posted on February 20, 2017 .

Molly McCully Brown

One of the most exciting things about Unbound is having the opportunity to bring brilliant young poets to Columbia and to introduce them and their work to new audiences. Anyone who was lucky enough to attend the extraordinary readings by Patrick Rosal and Camille Rankine last April will know exactly what we're talking about. One of this year's class of wonderful young poets is Molly McCully Brown.

Molly McCully Brown is the author of The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017),  which won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Image, TriQuarterly Online, Kenyon Review,  The Adroit Journal,  The Rumpus, Meridian and elsewhere. Raised in rural Virginia, she holds degrees from Bard College at Simon’s Rock and Stanford University. Currently, she is a John and Renée Grisham Fellow at the University of Mississippi.  You absolutely won't want to miss her! 

Posted on February 17, 2017 .

Rachel Hall's Heirlooms

A couple of months ago, Rachel Hall gave a reading from her wonderful new book, Heirlooms, at Daniel Boone Regional Library here in Columbia. There was, literally, not a spare seat in the house. The capacity crowd listened, rapt, as Rachel read. We're delighted to welcome this talented author back to Columbia to share her stories with those who were unlucky enough to miss out last time.

Heirlooms, (BkMk Press) was selected by Marge Piercy for the G.S. Sharat Chandra book prize. Hall’s recent work appears in Natural Bridge, Bellingham Review, Crab Orchard Review, Midwestern Gothic, and Lilith, which awarded her the 2015 fiction prize. She teaches creative writing and literature at the State University of New York at Geneseo, where she holds two Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence—one in teaching and one for her creative work. We're so happy to welcome Rachel to Unbound!

Posted on February 15, 2017 .

Growing Up on the Missouri River

Although Unbound is a national book festival, we never forget our roots. We are proud to present a number of local authors at the festival - and also to present some books that have a local focus. One such book that we are especially excited about this year is GROWING UP ON THE MISSOURI RIVER, by Dan and Connie Burkhardt.

Dan and Connie are advocates for, and true friends of, the Missouri River valley. Their book, Growing Up with the River: Nine Generations on the Missouri is illustrated with original paintings by one of Missouri’s leading artists, Bryan Haynes (who will also be appearing with them at their presentation at the festival.) The book looks at each of the nine generations that have grown up in different communities since Lewis and Clark plied the river for their epic Voyage of Discovery.  The last 100 miles of the longest river in America capture many stories of both the growth of our country and the accompanying changes in the river and environment.

The children in these stories experience these natural and cultural changes, as does another pivotal character, a mythical Bur Oak tree that stands near the river after an acorn was planted in 1806.  The Bur Oak is one of the grandest of all Missouri oaks and one of the longest-lived trees in the state, living up to 350 years.

Dan Burkhardt has also created two coffee-table books on two very different watersheds -- Missouri River Country: 100 Miles of Stories and Scenery from Hermann to the Confluence (2013) and Florida Bay Forever: The Story of Water from the Everglades to the Keys (2013).  The Burkhardts live in St. Louis and on their farm near the Missouri River with a herd of fifty cows and several flocks of chickens.   

Posted on February 11, 2017 .

Crime novelist extraordinaire SARA PARETSKY is Unbound-bound!

We are beyond excited to announce that world-renowned, bajillion-selling crime novelist SARA PARETSKY will be coming to Unbound this April! Sara will participate on our KILLING IT panel along with other wonderful women crime writers, and she will also be in conversation with Lyndsay Faye about the challenges and rewards of writing a series of novels featuring the same protagonist. Both promise to be amazing events.

Sara is the New York Times bestselling author of nineteen previous novels, including the renowned V. I. Warshawski series. She is one of only four living writers—along with Sue Grafton, John Le Carré, and Lawrence Block—to receive both the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association in Great Britain. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski is one of the most iconic investigators in literature, called “the best on the beat” by the Chicago Tribune, “undoubtedly one of the best-written characters in mystery fiction” by the Baltimore Sun, and “a rich discovery awaiting those who have yet to meet her” by the Los Angeles Times. V. I. has been praised as “America’s most convincing and engaging professional female private eye” by Entertainment Weekly, and the New York Times calls Paretsky’s books “a distinct pleasure.” Thirty years after she was first published, Paretsky remains fresh and more relevant than ever today.

Posted on February 10, 2017 .

Jill Orr will also be KILLING IT!

We figured we might as well go on a - what would you call it? a murder spree? - and keep announcing the wonderful crime novelists who will be appearing on our KILLING IT panel at this year's festival. In addition to Lyndsay Faye and Julia Dahl, may we now introduce the lovely and talented Jill Orr?

Jill's debut novel, THE GOOD BYLINE, is coming out in April (just in time for the festival!) from Prospect Park Books. Jill lives in Columbia, Missouri, with her husband and children. She writes a parenting column for COMO Living magazine and her work has appeared in National Horseman, Waterways, and the Columbia Business Times. Jill was a speaker at the 2013 Listen to Your Mother Show in St. Louis, and she posts humor essays on her blog, An Exercise in Narcissism. Jill has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a master's degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri.  The Good Byline is her first novel. We're thrilled to welcome Jill to Unbound!

Posted on February 9, 2017 .

Twitter-tastic! Come chat with Lyndsay Faye at 2 p.m.!

This afternoon at 2 p.m. CST we will be hosting our first TWITTER CHAT with brilliant author and 2017 Unbound guest Lyndsay Faye.  Lyndsay is the author, most recently, of the wonderful JANE STEELE and has also written the extraordinary Timothy Wilde trilogy.  Come join us and ask Lynsday a question by using the hashtag #unboundbookchat.

(And, of course, if you're on twitter you should definitely follow us for all the latest festival-related news. We're here: @unboundbookfest.)

Posted on February 8, 2017 .

KILLING IT: A Conversation with Women Crime Writers: JULIA DAHL

One of the events we're most looking forward to this festival is KILLING IT, our panel featuring some of the finest women mystery writers working today. Today we'd like to introduce you to one of the panelists, acclaimed novelist and journalist Julia Dahl.

Julia is a journalist specializing in crime and justice. Her first novel, INVISIBLE CITY, was a finalist for the Edgar Award and was named one of the Boston Globe's Best Books of 2014. She is also the author of RUN YOU DOWN and most recently, CONVICTION, all novels in her Rebekah Roberts series. Julia was born and raised in Fresno, Calif., and now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. and writes for

We can't wait to welcome Julia to Columbia!

Posted on February 6, 2017 .