An ongoing, annual joy for Columbia book lovers is watching the Unbound Book Festival lineup gradually expand one author at a time. The festival, which returns to downtown Columbia 20-23 April, has begun its literature build-up, adding three names to its previous main announcement.
Novelist Lydia Millet and multi-discipline authors Matthew Salesses and Jennifer Maritza McCauley have joined lead poets Ross Gay and Patrick Rosal on the 2023 list in recent weeks.
Millet’s latest, “Dinosaurs,” hit the shelves this year and is an extraordinary work. The book begins as a travelogue, following its heartwarming protagonist, Gil, as he leaves his life in New York and walks all the way to his new home in Arizona.
However, “Dinosaurs” proves that the destination itself can be an unexpected journey, and focuses on the society Gil embeds himself into upon arrival; the book examines how and why we connect and the beautiful, subtle effects our lives can leave.
Millet is a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner whose other titles include “A Children’s Bible,” “Magnificence,” and “Ghost Lights.”
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Salesse’s upcoming work, “The Sense of Wonder,” will precede his trip to Colombia. The novel, published in January, is about how “Asian Americans navigate the thorny world of sports and entertainment after all,” according to its publisher.
Previous books include “Hand in the Real World,” which seeks to bring fresh imagination to workshops and other literary gatherings; the novel “The Hundred Year Flood”; and “Differential Racism: On Stereotypes, the Individual, and Asian American Masculinities.”
McCauley will be a familiar face and voice to many Columbia readers, having earned his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri. “When Trying to Return Home,” her new collection of stories, will air in February. In 2017, McCauley’s remarkable poetry found readers in “Scar On/Scar Off,” a book praised by the Tribune for its “uncommon blend of vulnerability and self-assurance.”
“What can’t McCauley do? A writer to watch,” said Kirkus Reviews in their look at “When Trying to Return Home.”
The Unbound line will continue to expand in the coming weeks. All Unbound events, including Gay and Rosal’s April 21 headliner, are free. Visit https://www.unboundbookfestival.com/ for more information.