Cleopatra Mathis!

We're thrilled to welcome multi-award-winning poet Cleopatra Mathis to Columbia next month. Cleopatra will be reading from her work and also appearing on our panel, IN DOG WE TRUST.

Cleopatra has published seven collections of poetry. Most recent, from Sarabande Books, are White Sea, awarded the May Sarton Book Prize, and Book of Dog, which won the Sheila Motten Book Prize. Her poems have appeared widely in magazines, and journals, including the New Yorker, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and Three Penny Review, as well as numerous anthologies and textbooks. Awards for her work include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, two Pushcart Prizes, and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. 

Posted on March 22, 2017 .

David Von Drehle

We're very pleased to welcome acclaimed journalist and author David Von Drehle to this year's Unbound Book Festival.

David is an Editor-at-large for Time magazine, where he has written more than 50 cover stories over the past nine years on topics ranging from presidential politics to the Supreme Court to international terrorism. His essay on the 2008 Time Person of the Year, Barack Obama, anchored the bestselling issue in the history of Time’s most famous franchise. His work has been featured on a wide variety of television and radio programs, including “Today,” “The NBC Nightly News,” “The NewsHour,” and “Morning Edition.” 

Prior to joining Time in 2007, Von Drehle was a senior writer and Assistant Managing Editor at The Washington Post, where he covered national politics and led the paper’s renowned features and culture section, Style. His work for The Post has been collected in a number of anthologies, including “America’s Best Newspaper Writing.”

Von Drehle is the author of several books, including the award-winning bestseller Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year. His acclaimed account of the famous Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, has been called “social history at its best” by the New York Times; it remains a staple of high school and college history classes across the country.  

A graduate of the University of Denver and Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar), Von Drehle lives in Kansas City with his wife, journalist Karen Ball, and their four children.

Posted on March 20, 2017 .

Meg Kearney.

We're so excited to welcome the multi-talented author and poet Meg Kearney to this year's festival. Meg will be appearing on our panel, In Dog We Trust, and also reading from her work. We can't wait!

Meg Kearney is author of two books of poems for adults, An Unkindness of Ravens and Home By Now, winner of the 2010 PEN New England L.L. Winship Award; as well as three novels in verse for teens: The Secret of Me, The Girl in the Mirror, and When You Never Said Goodbye. Meg’s award-winning picture book, Trouper, is illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Scholastic, 2013). Her poetry has been featured on Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” and Garrison Keillor’s “A Writer’s Almanac,” and has been published in myriad literary magazines and anthologies. She lives in New Hampshire and directs the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College in Massachusetts.

Posted on March 17, 2017 .

Our final guest on the KILLING IT panel is no longer a mystery...

We're very pleased to welcome back to Unbound for a second year Columbia's very own Laura McHugh. Laura will be on our magnificent panel of women crime and mystery writers, which we are calling: KILLING IT.

Laura is the award-winning author of The Weight of Blood and Arrowood. The Weight of Blood won the International Thriller Writers Award and Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel, and the 2016 Missouri Author Award for Fiction. It was also nominated for an Alex Award, Barry Award, and GoodReads Choice Award, and was named a Best Book of the Year by BookPage, the Kansas City Star, and the Sunday Times UK. McHugh’s second novel, Arrowood, was published in 2016. She lives in Missouri with her husband and children.

Posted on March 13, 2017 .


We're so thrilled to welcome writer, teacher, and musician Prahlad to this year's Unbound Book Festival. Columbia residents may well have heard or seen Prahlad performing around town - he was recently one of the featured musicians at the True/False Film Festival

Prahlad has published two books of poems, Hear My Story and Other Poems, and As Good As MangoHe has also published critical articles and books on Black folklore, including Reggae Wisdom: Proverbs in Jamaican Music, and African American Proverbs in Contextand he has edited the three volume set, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Folklore, and the one volume African American Folklore: An Encyclopedia for Students. Prahlad is also a songwriter and musician, and released his first CD, Hover Near, in 2008, and is working on a second CD. He recently completed a short film, titled, Mouth Talking is Just Another Sound. He teaches folklore, film, creative writing, and disability studies in the English Department at the University of Missouri, where he has been a professor since 1990. Prahlad’s memoir, The Secret Life of a Black Aspie which won the Permafrost Nonfiction Book Prize and was released in February, is the first personal account to offer glimpses inside the world of an autistic African American. 

Posted on March 11, 2017 .

We Need Volunteers!

Festivals do not happen by accident. Unbound depends on the hard work and participation of many, many people in order to succeed. In addition to the authors and organizers, we rely greatly on our wonderful army of volunteers to assist in making sure things run smoothly over the weekend of the festival itself. There are many jobs to be done, from managing the venues, driving authors about, to handing out programs and helping festival guests get to where they want to be.  It's a relaxed day, and we don't ask anyone to do more than one shift, which means that everyone will still have the opportunity to enjoy most of the festival as a regular attendee.

All volunteers receive an exclusive T-shirt (designed once again by the mighty Mike Sleadd) and are invited to the author-volunteer party at Orr Street Studios after the festival, which is a unique opportunity to meet and speak with the wonderful authors and poets in a more relaxed setting.

If you would like to become part of the Unbound team, we're still looking for volunteers! Please go to this link and complete the online survey/application. And thanks!

Posted on March 10, 2017 .

YA Author Brian Katcher Will Be Here in April!


Brian Katcher is the author of the Stone Wall Award winning book ALMOST PERFECT, as well as PLAYING WITH MATCHES, THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK, EVERYONE DIES IN THE END, and the forthcoming DEACON LOCKE WENT TO PROM. He works as a school librarian and lives in Moberly, Missouri with his wife and daughter.

Brian will be in conversation with another stellar YA author, Zac Brewer. Discover everything you wanted to know about the unique challenges and rewards of writing fiction for young adults. It promises to be a fascinating discussion.

Posted on March 6, 2017 .

Another wonderful poet! Meet Kathryn Nuernberger.

Kathryn Nuernberger is the author of two poetry collections, The End of Pink, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American poets, and Rag & Bone, which won the Antivenom Prize from Elixir Press. A collection of lyric essays, Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past won the Non/Fiction Prize from The Journal and is forthcoming from OSU Press in Fall 2017. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Bakken Museum of Electricity in Life, and the American Antiquarian Society, she is an associate professor of creative writing at University of Central Missouri, where she also serves as the director of Pleiades Press. Recent works appears in 32 Poems, Crazyhorse, Field, The Collagist, Tupelo Quarterly West Branch, Willow Springs, and elsewhere.  We're thrilled to welcome Kate to Unbound!

Posted on March 4, 2017 .

Lisa Knopp

We're very pleased to welcome award-winning essayist Lisa Knopp to this year's festival. Lisa's newest book, Bread: A Memoir of Hunger, was published by the University of Missouri Press in the fall of 2016. In it she tells the story of the restrictive eating that had left her sick and thin when she was 15 and 25 and that returned when she was deeply settled into the routines and responsibilities, the fulfillments and sorrows of midlife. Knopp embarks on a quest to understand her malady, why it returned when it did, and how to heal herself. In Bread, which is both an illness and a food memoir, she explores the genetic, biological, familial, psychological, spiritual, and cultural forces that cause eating disorders, a psychological illness and a clinical diagnosis, and disordered eating, an abnormal or maladaptive relationship with food, weight, body image, and self. It's a wonderfully compelling read.

Lisa is the author of six collections of essays, each of which explores the concepts of place, home, nature, and spirituality. Her collection, What the River Carries: Encounters with Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte (University of Missouri Press, 2012) was the winner of the 2013 Nebraska Book Award in the Nonfiction/Essay category and received honorable mention in the 2013 ASLE (Association for Study of Literature and Environment) book awards for environmental creative writing. Her essays have appeared in many of the best publications, including Shenandoah, Gettysburg Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Missouri Review, Connecticut Review, Creative Nonfiction, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and Northwest Review. Seven of her essays have received notable essay citations in the Best American Essays series (1991, 1994, 2001, 2001, 2008, 2010, 2015). Currently, she is working on a collection of autobiographical essays called Like Salt or Love: Essays on Leaving Home. Essays in that collection have been published in several journals, including Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary nonfiction, Gettysburg Review, and Georgia Review.

Knopp was born and raised in Burlington in southeastern Iowa, and received her education at the University of Iowa, Iowa Wesleyan College, Western Illinois University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where she teaches courses in creative nonfiction (Travel Writing, Food Writing, Narrative Nonfiction, Modern Familiar Essay, and Experiments in Creative Nonfiction). Previously, she was a faculty mentor in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.


Posted on March 2, 2017 .

Missouri's New Poet Laureate, Aliki Barnstone, will read at Unbound!

At our inaugural festival we were thrilled to present all three of Missouri's Poets Laureate, and continuing this tradition, we're excited to announce that the present incumbent, Aliki Barnstone, will be appearing at Unbound this April. You won't want to miss her.

Aliki Barnstone is a poet, translator, critic, editor, and visual artist. She is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently: Dwelling (Sheep Meadow, 2016), Bright Body (White Pine, 2011), and Dear God Dear, Dr. Heartbreak: New and Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow, 2009). She translated of The Collected Poems of C.P. Cavafy: A New Translation (W.W. Norton, 2006). Her first book of poems, The Real Tin Flower (Crowell-Collier, 1968), was published when she was 12 years old, with a forward by Anne Sexton. In 2014, Carnegie-Mellon University Press reissued her book, Madly in Love, as a Carnegie-Mellon Classic Contemporary. Her poems have appeared in such journals as New Letters, Los Angeles Times, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Southern Review, Smartish Pace, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Among her awards are a Senior Fulbright Fellowship in Greece, the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Literature Fellowship in Poetry, and a residency at the Anderson Center at Tower View. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Missouri and serves as poet laureate of Missouri. 

Posted on March 1, 2017 .