Intersection - Unbound Book Festival Authors Talk Inclusion, Lost Stories and Identity

Today on Intersection, we’re sharing interviews with local authors coming to the Unbound Book Festival this weekend, and also exploring concerns about diversity and expression at the festival. Unbound is a three-day event that brings authors from all over the world to Columbia to talk and share insight on their work. The event runs from April 19 to the 21, and will be held in venues across Columbia, including The Missouri Theatre and Stephens College. This year's headline speaker is author Zadie Smith.

As we put together this show, we learned of people voicing concerns over diversity and inclusion at the Unbound Book Festival, particularly on several panels with all white participants. 

Ibtisam Barakat, a Palestinian-American author, posted a statement to Facebook about a week ago saying she was encouraged by these discussions to reveal racism experienced while participating in an Unbound panel last year. Barakat talked with producer Abby Ivory-Ganja about her experience. Sara Shahriari spoke with festival organizer Alex George about what will change for the festival going forward.  

Intersection's Betsy Smith also talked with some of the local authors featured at Unbound this year: Nina Furstenau, author of “Biting through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland;” and Julija Šukys, author of “Siberian Exile: Blood, War, and a Granddaughter’s Reckoning.” 

Assistant Producers for this show are Betsy Smith and Ahmed Jawadi.