Third annual Unbound Book Festival faces questions of inclusivity

1 year 10 months 1 day ago Thursday, April 19 2018 Apr 19, 2018 Thursday, April 19, 2018 8:49:00 AM CDT April 19, 2018 in News
By: Charles Nichelson, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The third annual Unbound Book Festival kicks off tonight, facing questions over its leadership's commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The event, hosted at Stephens College, has been addressing controversy over last year's event. It comes after some Stephens College students tweeted their displeasure with the lack of minority candidates in this year's panels.

The founder and director of the Unbound Book festival, Alex George, asked to meet with some of those students on Twitter.

Victoria Patrick, a senior at Stephens College who was one of the original accounts involved in the twitter discussion of the festival's history, said she was hopeful festival would be an extension of the literary community in Columbia, but found herself disappointed.

"I've found that the makeup of the festival tends to be very white and predominantly male," Patrick said, "which strikes me as odd as it is hosted on a women's college campus."

She said she was unable to attend the student meeting with George, but would need "to see a commitment to diversity at every level of the festival. Diversity not only in race, but also gender and sexuality," before she returned to the festival.

Amid the storm of tweets, the incident from last year was mentioned, which garnered further attention.

According to an apology posted on the festival's Facebook page, a local radio host, KFRU's David Lile, was directed to steer a Columbia-based author, Ibtisam Barakat, away from speaking about Palestinian issues during a panel talk that also featured a Jewish American writer.

This incident, along with the disappointment over the lack of minority panelists, led to two authors threatening to quit the event via twitter, during the past week.

An MU professor and author, Rosalie Metro, said she would not participate unless the description of her panel was changed. The description was changed; Metro later tweeted "Unbound is still #sowhite, but at least we are problematizing that."

Another author and scheduled-panelist, Heather Derr-Smith, tweeted that she was dropping out of the event regardless.

On Tuesday, Derr-Smith said she had just recently been informed the panel could not find any women of color to participate. She tweeted in response: "I find this impossible to believe. There are so many phenomenal poets here on twitter alone."

A Stephens College student, Ty Berry, who attended an event last year, said she did not feel her voice was previously represented.

"I just want to hear somebody who looks like me, or who is dealing with the same things as me," Berry said. "To tell a story that I can relate to, or understand."

Neither Alex George, nor any other representatives of the festival, has responded to requests for comment at this time.

More News

Grid
List
LAS VEGAS — The latest on the 2020 presidential campaign and Democratic debate 6 p.m. Six Democratic... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 8:07:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
SPRINGFIELD- A retired Catholic priest has been charged in Missouri with multiple counts of child sexual abuse stemming from... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 7:54:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - While the snow disappears with warmer weather, potholes are opening in roads around mid-Missouri. Street division employees... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 5:43:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Joseph Elledge, the husband of missing Columbia woman Mengqi Ji Elledge, has been charged with first-degree murder,... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 5:05:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A U.S. Army Veteran is passing through Jefferson City on Thursday as part of his effort to... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 4:37:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
ASHLAND - After the Landmark Bank and Simmons First National merger on February 18, residents in Ashland are seeing some... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 4:16:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Clean Missouri was approved by 62% of Missourians in 2018. Now, some Missouri lawmakers want to reverse... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 3:19:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A public defender representing a Columbia man who plotted a terrorist attack has asked for a 15-year sentence.... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 2:43:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – People from all around Missouri and lawmakers packed into a hearing room in the Missouri Capitol Wednesday... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 2:22:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia parents and candidates for the Columbia Board of Education met Wednesday to discuss special education. This... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 2:04:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - State lawmakers on the House Elections and Elected Officials committee heard testimony on a bill that could... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 12:59:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A Fulton man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a 2018 Columbia homicide. 30-year-old... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 12:23:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
FULTON - The State Technical College of Missouri is partnering with the Callaway Chamber of Commerce to provide the MoAMP... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 10:55:00 AM CST February 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced his candidacy to keep the seat Wednesday. Schmitt was appointed... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 10:13:00 AM CST February 19, 2020 in News
Loxahatchee, FL – According to the national institute of mental health, nearly one in five people in the United States... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 9:20:00 AM CST February 19, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — The man suspected of shooting an off-duty police officer at a Walmart store in the... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 18 2020 Feb 18, 2020 Tuesday, February 18, 2020 8:53:16 PM CST February 18, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One Missouri advocacy group will show up in numbers to support its cause on Wednesday. Decoding... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 18 2020 Feb 18, 2020 Tuesday, February 18, 2020 7:50:00 PM CST February 18, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA-- Lawyers for a Columbia businessman, Dimetrius Woods, are employing last ditch efforts to keep him out of prison. ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 18 2020 Feb 18, 2020 Tuesday, February 18, 2020 7:00:00 PM CST February 18, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 30°
11pm 30°
12am 29°
1am 28°
2am 27°