There will be no Unbound Book Festival this year.
The festival was due to take place from April 23 to 26, 2020 – while that’s still six weeks away, the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus means that cancelation is the only option that will protect the health and safety of our audiences, our guest writers, our volunteers – and of our community as a whole. I am truly heartbroken by this decision, even though I know it is the right one. So many people have devoted so much time to putting the festival together – and this year was to have been the most ambitious and exciting event yet.
I’m grateful to the wonderful writers and poets who had agreed to come this year; everyone was were so looking forward to hearing them speak. I’m grateful to our amazing team of volunteers who have worked so hard for so long. (The festival may take place over one weekend, but it is very much a year-round undertaking.) I’m grateful to our sponsors, who have supported us wonderfully over the years. And of course I’m grateful to everyone who has given so generously to Unbound over the years – those gifts have enabled us to keep the festival free for all to attend.
So although this is a very sad day, there remains much to celebrate. We’re proud of what we’ve built over the last five years. We’re proud of this community that nourishes and supports our efforts, and we hope that we’ve made Unbound a festival that Columbia can be proud of.
And look: we’ll be back. The board will be meeting early next week to determine next steps, and we’ll let you know as soon as we can if we’ll be rescheduling for the fall or pushing on to April 2021.
In the meantime, please stay safe, wash your hands, and remember these beautiful words by Frederick Douglass: Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.