Pie and Whiskey Tickets!!

Finally we can announce that tickets for the Pie and Whiskey reading will become available next Tuesday, March 27, at 9 a.m. precisely. The link to register for tickets will appear here and on the festival's Facebook page.


A few things to note:

Tickets are free (of course) but very limited, so we are restricting availability to one ticket per online application.

All audience members must be over 21.

We want to have as many people attend as possible, and consequently seating will be limited.

Posted on March 24, 2018 .


OK, we know. It's not really a word. But it's what you'll hear most often said about one of this year's guests, Gary Pinkel. Some of you may have heard of him.


Gary Pinkel is one of the most successful coaches in college football history. He has been named Coach of the Year in three different conferences, and has the most wins of any coach at two major college football programs (not just Mizzou, but also Toledo.) During his time coaching the University of Missouri Tigers, the team went to nine Bowls, winning six Bowl championships, five Division championships, and they played in four championship games.

Pinkel's biography, The 100 Yard Journey, co-written with Dave Matter, tells his personal story, and examines some of the lessons that he has learned over the course of his stellar career. On Saturday April 21, Gary and Dave will sit down together and discuss some of those lessons, and what makes a successful coach. We're thrilled to welcome Gary and Dave to this year's Unbound. The 100 Yard Journey is a book every Mizzou sports fan should own (and, of course, you'll be able to get yours signed while you're here.)

Like we said, winningest.

 Dave Matter

Dave Matter

Posted on March 19, 2018 .

Enemy of the People?

When we plan our panels each year, we always try and address topics that are newsworthy and relevant. It's not always easy, as we have to plan so far ahead of time, but this is one panel that could not be more pertinent to what we read every day in the headlines.

What differentiates the United States from many other countries is our ferocious commitment to the freedoms enshrined within the First Amendment. So what does it mean when the President of the United States calls the press the “enemy of the people,” and suggests that not applauding his speeches might be treasonous behavior? This panel brings scholars and journalists together to analyze the legal, ethical, and practical consequences of this state of affairs, and to discuss what we should do about it.

Here's the ad that appeared in today's Columbia Tribune announcing the panel:

Posted on March 18, 2018 .

We're Still Looking for Volunteers!


HUGE THANKS to all of you lovely people who have already signed up to volunteer at this year's festival. The event is a mammoth undertaking (and growing bigger every year) and we really, truly, honestly COULD NOT DO IT without our amazing volunteers. Unbound does not have a single paid member of staff - everyone volunteers their time, and it really is a labor of love.

However, we do still have a significant number of slots and rosters that we need to fill - so please, if you haven't yet signed up but are planning to do so, would you fill in the online application form? And if you know of anyone else who you think might enjoy the experience, please forward the link to them and invite them to join our merry tribe. The more, as they say, the merrier. Susan, our Empress of Volunteers, is already cracking her knuckles in anticipation of long nights spent slaving over the volunteer schedules, and is anxious to begin.


Posted on March 15, 2018 .

Bon Appetit!

Another Sunday, another lovely ad in the Columbia Tribune.  This week we're featuring our panel about food writing.


You’ve heard the saying: you are what you eat.  It’s more true than you ever knew. With authors Donna Battle PierceNina Furstenau, Kate Lebo, Sam Ligon, and Robin Sloan, this panel will examine how writing about food is so much more than recipes: a story about the food we eat is a story of who we are. Don't miss it!

Posted on March 11, 2018 .

The Boundless Anthology is here! (Well, almost.)

Regular readers of this blog may recall that, in the dim and distant past of last year, we announced a writing contest for short pieces of fiction and fiction to appear in the festival's inaugural anthology, BOUNDLESS.

We're thrilled to announce that we received an amazing number of entries from across the country. The judging process, brilliantly organized and administered by Yolanda Ciolli of Compass Flower Press, has been completed, with the final determination of the winners being made by author, editor, professor, and 2018 Unbound guest, David Collins.


Our hearty congratulations to the overall winner, Evan Guilford-Blake, who wins the $1,000 prize for his piece, "The Box." The other fine authors whose work was chosen for inclusion in the anthology are: Sharon Buzzard, Mary Curtis, Peggy DeKay, Ida Fogle, Marcia Forecki, Linda Johnson, Rosemary McKinley, William Mesce, Ellen Birkett Morris, Dawn Paul, Von Pittman, Matthue Roth, Anneliese Schultz, Julia Simpson-Urrutia, and Donna Volkenannt. 

Copies of BOUNDLESS will go on sale at the launch party for the book, which will take place at the Columbia Art League, 207 South 9th Street, Columbia, from 4.00 to 7.00 on Friday, April 20. For those of you going to see Zadie Smith that night, the Columbia Art League is right next door to the Missouri Theatre, so you can stop in to pick up a copy of the book and enjoy some complimentary food and drink before going to the festival's keynote event. Copies of the book will also be available at the festival merchandise table in the Stephens College ballroom on Saturday. All sale proceeds will go to benefit the festival. 

Huge thanks are due to David Collins for his editorial skills, and especially to Yolanda Ciolli and Compass Flower Press, without whom this lovely book would never have seen the light of day. 

Posted on March 7, 2018 .

A Message From Matt Wilson!

You may already be aware of the amazing post-festival event we're putting on in collaboration with the "We Always Swing" Jazz Series on Saturday night, April 21. Drummer Matt Wilson is bringing his amazing band to the First Baptist Church on Broadway and will be performing music from his acclaimed album, Honey And Salt. This music was inspired by and features the poems of Carl Sandburg - and, as a special treat, at this performance the poems will be read by some of the festival's authors.

We're very excited about this - but we're not the only ones. Here's a message from Matt Wilson himself:

Tickets for this event are available from the "We Always Swing" Jazz Series website, or you can call the box office at (573) 449 3009. If you mention Unbound, they'll give you a discount.

Posted on March 4, 2018 .

Passports to Elsewhere

What greater joy is there than a book that really transports you to another place? I still remember being stuck in a broken down coach on the side of a dreary English motorway on a rainy Sunday afternoon twenty-five years ago and not caring a bit, because in my imagination I was on a beach in Greece, thanks to John Fowles and his bewitching novel, The Magus.

There's something especially fascinating about books that take us places we don't already know. It's one thing to write about London or Paris or Rome (or a Greek island, for that matter) - quite another to describe somewhere wholly outside the reader's realm of experience.  

We're very excited to be presenting a fascinating panel at Unbound which features three wonderful first-time authors who have each made the brave decision to set their books in places that most readers won't be familiar with: Haiti, Rwanda, and Burma, respectively. What challenges does such an undertaking present? What are the opportunities, and the rewards? Come and hear these writers discuss these and other topics, and read from their beautiful books. You'll be transported. 

 Allison Coffelt

Allison Coffelt

Allison Coffelt  lives and writes in Columbia, Missouri. Her work has appeared in and won awards from the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hippocampus, Oxford Public Health Magazine, the Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. Maps Are Lines We Draw: A Road Trip Through Haiti is her first book.  She currently works as the director of education and outreach for the annual True/False Film Fest and hosts the True/False podcast.

 Jennifer Haupt

Jennifer Haupt

Jennifer Haupt went to Rwanda as a journalist in 2006, a decade after the genocide that wiped out over a million people, to explore the connections between forgiveness and grief. She spent a month interviewing genocide survivors and humanitarian aid workers, and came home with something unexpected: the bones of a novel. Haupt’s work has been published in O, The Oprah Magazine, Psychology Today, The Sun and many other publications. Her debut novel, In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills, will be published in April 2018. www.jenniferhaupt.com

 Rose Metro

Rose Metro

Rosalie Metro is an anthropologist of education who has been researching Burma/Myanmar since 2000. She holds a PhD from Cornell University, and she is currently an assistant teaching professor in the College of Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Have Fun in Burma is her first novel. www.rosaliemetro.com.

Posted on February 26, 2018 .


Slowly but surely, Unbound is growing. 

We have so many wonderful writers that we want to present, it's just not possible to cram them all into one day, and so, perhaps inevitably, we are beginning to expand. For example: at 4.30 on Friday afternoon, April 20, we'll be presenting a kick-ass poetry reading with six phenomenal poets. So much talent in one place! You really won't want to miss it. 

The event will be hosted by our friends at Fretboard Coffee in the North Village Arts District. As with all Unbound events, the reading is completely free and open to the public. It's just the sort of thing to get you in the mood for Zadie Smith in the Missouri Theatre later on that evening.  And while you're there you should try some of their excellent coffee. It really is delicious.

Fretboard still.png

Here's who will be reading:

Hadara Bar-Nadav is the author of The New Nudity (Saturnalia Books, 2017); Lullaby (with Exit Sign) (Saturnalia Books, 2013), awarded the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize; The Frame Called Ruin (New Issues, 2012), Runner Up for the Green Rose Prize; and A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight (Margie/Intuit House, 2007), awarded the Margie Book Prize.  In addition, she is co-author with Michelle Boisseau of the best-selling textbook Writing Poems, 8th ed. (Pearson/Longman, 2011).  Recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she is a Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Anne Barngrover is the author of Brazen Creature (University of Akron Press, 2018), Yell Hound Blues (Shipwreckt Books, 2013), and co-author with Avni Vyas of the chapbook Candy in Our Brains (CutBank, 2014). She earned an MFA from Florida State and a PhD from University of Missouri. Currently she is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Saint Leo University and lives in Tampa, Florida.

Traci Brimhall is the author of Saudade (Copper Canyon, 2017), Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Slate, Poetry, The Believer, The New Republic, and Best American Poetry. She’s received fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the National Endowment for the Arts. She’s an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Kansas State University.

Melissa Fite Johnson is the author of While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), a Kansas Notable Book, and A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems appear in Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, and elsewhere. Melissa and her husband live with their dogs and chickens in Kansas, where she teaches English.

Marc McKee is the author of five collections of poetry: What Apocalypse? (New Michigan Press, 2008); Fuse (Black Lawrence Press, 2011); Bewilderness (Black Lawrence Press, 2014); Consolationeer (Black Lawrence Press, 2017); and Meta Meta Make-Belief, forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2019. Recent poems appear in Rockhurst Review, The Laurel Review, Copper Nickel, Memorious, Southern Indiana Review, and are forthcoming from Bennington Review, Inter|rupture, Los Angeles Review, Matter, and The Offending Adam. He teaches at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where he lives with his wife, Camellia Cosgray, and their son, Harold.

Stefanie Wortman is the author of In the Permanent Collection. Her poems and essays have appeared in the Boston Review, American Poetry Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and other publications.

Posted on February 23, 2018 .