Hi.

Welcome to Hasty Book List, where I document and review the books I read. Hope you have a nice stay!

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

IMG_8874.jpg

This was Unbound Book Festival’s fourth year running, but it was my first year attending. Living in St. Louis made it convenient for me to attend, plus there were a couple authors attending whose books I’d already read. The event is totally free to attend and I was going to be visiting my in-laws that weekend anyway for Easter. Everything aligned just perfectly for me.

The first session I attended was a conversation between Jenna Blum and Lynda Cohen Loigman. One of the main reasons I was excited to attend Unbound Book Festival this year was to catch up with Lynda, who I had met when I interviewed her on stage at the St. Louis County Library back in January. I really enjoyed reading and reviewing her book, The Wartime Sisters. I hadn’t met Jenna before, but I’m definitely a new fan. I love the way Jenna talks about her books as children. She referred to The Lost Family as her baby, then corrected herself and said it was probably a toddler now. It no longer needed a book bjorn. And she referred to her first book as “a teenager sitting on my shelf giving me the side eye.”

  1. The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

The Wartime Sisters: A Novel
By Lynda Cohen Loigman

2. The Lost Family by Jenna Blum

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

The Lost Family: A Novel
By Jenna Blum

I took the second session off to shop the book sale organized by Skylark Bookshop and browse the various vendor booths and the local authors section. I also had just enough time to grab lunch with Lynda who spent the hour convincing me to write a book. Ha!

The second session I attended was a conversation between Steven Rowley and Paula Saunders. I just recently read Steven’s latest book, The Editor, which I absolutely loved. In fact, I chose it as our book for May’s Virtual Book Club (click here for more information on how to join the conversation - Steven Rowley will be joining us!) At each session, both authors spend some time reading a short passage from their books. Usually, this is my least-favorite part. I listen to a lot of audiobooks which are narrated by professional actors, so having an author read their book is usually a bit anti-climactic. But (and this is a direct quote from my notes) OMG - Steven Rowley is a great reader! He and Paula Saunders discussed writing autobiographical fiction and the difference between writing factual truth and emotional truth.

3. The Editor by Steven Rowley

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

The Editor
By Steven Rowley

4. The Distance Home by Paula Saunders

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

The Distance Home: A Novel
By Paula Saunders

The third session I attended was a conversation between Cherise Wolas and Kate Christensen. This was the first session I attended where I hadn’t read either book. However, I was introduced to Cherise via Facebook when I was commenting on Lynda’s page about the festival. Cherise and I had communicated quite a bit via social media and texts prior to the festival, so I was really excited to finally meet her in person. The moderator of this session asked the most thought-provoking (and rather difficult) questions. Cherise and Kate ended up discussing the idea of “genius,” “brilliance” and the relationshp between artist and subject and how that affects the success of the art.

I find it so interesting the way authors talk about their characters as separate from themselves. Kate Christensen said one of her character’s perspective of his success didn’t interest her so she killed him off at the beginning of her book. Steven Rowley said he didn’t want to know how his story would end because he was there for the journey and along for the ride. As someone who has never written a book, I’m fascinated by how authors think of their character’s as running the show. I would have thought if Kate didn’t like her character’s perspective on something, why wouldn’t she just write a new perspective? Oh, I have a lot to learn it seems.

5. The Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

The Family Tabor: A Novel
By Cherise Wolas

6. The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

The last session I attended was a panel entitled “Unbound Goes to the Movies.” It was the only panel I had time to attend - it featured Garrard Conley, Joanna Rakoff, and Steven Rowley. All three authors were at different stages of the process of turning their books into movies. I was riveted by this discussion. Garrard Conley wrote Boy Erased, which inspired the movie of the same name starring Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Lucas Hedges. When Lucas was chosen to play Garrad in the movie, Garrad said, “I feel safe with him.” This line really stuck with me. I had to watch this movie in two sittings because it was so heart-wrenching that I needed a break from it part-way through. The movie inspired by Joanna Rakoff’s book, My Salinger Year, is about to go into production and is starring Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualle. I was fascinated by the story of the first time she sold the film rights, the screenplay was being written at the same time she was writing the book. I can’t imagine that pressure. In fact, the screenplay was turned in before she even turned in the final copy of her book. It comes as no surprise that that deal fell through and a new (better) deal emerged. Steven Rowley is in the beginning stages of turning his first novel, Lily and the Octopus into a movie. As a former screen writer, he said he broke every screenplay rule writing his novel and he had no interest in trying to write the screenplay himself. However, he’s more involved in the process for The Editor, which also has garnered interest from Hollywood.

7. My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

7 Books by Authors Who Spoke at the Unbound Book Festival This Year

My Salinger Year
By Joanna Rakoff

Unbound Book Festival is the first book festival I’ve ever attended. It was small and intimate, and held at my alma mater…I’m sure all of these things contributed to how much I enjoyed my experience. Even though I’m moving to Chicago, I hope I’m able to return and attend again next year. Now I’m Googling all the other book festivals (big and small, local and not) that I might be able to attend. Do you have a favorite? Find this post on Facebook and let me know which book festivals are your favorite!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link. Thank you for supporting this blog and the books I recommend! I may have received a book for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
An Artless Demise

An Artless Demise

Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth

0