George Saunders is our 2019 Keynote!

We at Unbound HQ have been hard at work to put together next year's event. We're planning some panels and conversations that we think you're really going to love. But more of that another time... today we are beyond thrilled to announce that our keynote speaker for next year's festival will be the very great and very wonderful George Saunders.

 George Saunders. Really.

George Saunders. Really.

The recipient of a 2006 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (the fabled “Genius” Award), George Saunders is the author of a novel, four collections of short stories, a novella, a book of essays, and an award-winning children’s book. His long-awaited novel and most recent book, Lincoln in the Bardo, was published in 2017, and was a #1 New York Times bestseller and won the Man Booker Prize. His short story collection, Tenth of December was a finalist for the National Book Award, and winner of the 2014 Story Prize for short fiction and the 2014 Folio Prize. His other collections include the bestselling Pastoralia, set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape; CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and In Persuasion Nation, one of three finalists for the 2006 Story Prize for best short story collection of the year.

Saunders is also the author of the novella-length illustrated fable, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, which takes us into a profoundly strange country called Inner Horner, and the New York Times bestselling children’s book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, illustrated by Lane Smith. Congratulations, by the Way is a book containing the funny yet uplifting graduation speech Saunders gave at Syracuse University, which went viral shortly after its delivery.

Saunders’ book of essays, The Braindead Megaphone, received much critical acclaim and his nonfiction writing appears regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, and Harpers Magazine. His work has appeared in the O’HenryBest American Short StoryBest Non-Required Reading, and Best American Travel Writing anthologies.

In 2001, Saunders was selected by Entertainment Weekly as one of the one hundred top most creative people in entertainment, and by The New Yorker in 2002 as one of the best writers under 40.  In 2006, he was awarded both a MacArthur Fellowship, for “bring[ing] to contemporary American fiction a sense of humor, pathos, and literary style all his own,” and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2013 TIME Magazine listed Saunders on its list of 100 Most Influential People in the World. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.

George Saunders will be speaking at the Missouri Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19, 2019. As in previous years, this event will be completely free. Tickets will be available for online reservation ahead of time, as usual, but this year they won't be available until early next year. Don't worry - we'll give you plenty of notice!