Public Events

 The Festival of Faith & Writing will include a handful of sessions that are open to the public. Tickets for the events that require them are available through the Calvin College Box Office online or by calling 616-526-6282.

Note: Admission to all lectures—keynote and otherwise—is included in Festival registration.  Only the concert requires a separate ticket for registered attendees.

Wednesday, April 13

MAKOTO FUJIMURA: The Four Quartets Made Visible
3:30 PM at the 106 Gallery (in downtown Grand Rapids)
Makoto Fujimura will discuss his series of paintings based on T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets and making visual art inspired by literary art in this special pre-Festival event. This lecture will take place at Calvin College’s gallery space at 106 South Division in downtown Grand Rapids and will be followed by a short reception with the artist.
>> Co-sponsored by Calvin College’s Department of Art and Art History
>> Free—no tickets required

Thursday, April 14

TOBIAS WOLFF: Some Doubts About Certainty
12 PM, Van Noord Arena
Esteemed author and mentor Tobias Wolff offers a meditation on the social and spiritual problems posed by the felt need for certainty in matters of faith and values, and the corresponding danger of individuals, and societies, adrift without a guiding sense of confidence in their beliefs. He will reflect on the circumstances surrounding his writing of “In the Garden of the North American Martyrs,” and the second thoughts he has had about the particular kind of heroism it depicts.
>> Free—no tickets required

ASHLEY BRYAN: The Art of Spirituals
4:30 PM, Covenant Fine Arts Center, Recital Hall
Children’s book author and artist Ashley Bryan will talk about creating art for his illustrated collection of black American spirituals for children, which includes Walk Together Children, I’m Going to Sing, and All Night, All Day. He’ll be joined onstage by the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus performing a selection of these songs. 
>> Children are welcome and encouraged to attend this session.
>> Free—no tickets required

7:30 PM, Van Noord Arena
What is the purpose of writing “creatively”? Have the reasons changed over time? What can aspiring writers do to convince themselves that serious writing—in a world full of distractions—is still worth doing? What kind of writing is needed in the 21st century? Zadie Smith considers these questions from both the modern reader and writer’s point of view.
>> Tickets available here.

9 PM in Covenant Fine Arts Center, Auditorium
>> Tickets available here

Friday, April 15

PLAY: Lines
2 PM, Spoelhof Center, Lab Theater
This moving play explores how racial issues specifically impact individuals and families. Lines challenges the audience to ask questions about their communities and respond to race-related division. Based on interviews with more than 150 residents of Grand Rapids, this is the theatre of testimony, giving voice to the voiceless.
>> Run-time: 2 hours, including post-show discussion
>> Free—no tickets required

7:30 PM, Van Noord Arena
George Saunders takes up the question “What good is art, and why?”: Exploring the actual “how” of art production, he considers what a close and honest observation of one’s own process can tell us about how much to trust art. After his talk, Saunders will be joined on stage by his former teacher Tobias Wolff for a wide-ranging conversation on faith and writing.
>> Tickets available here

Saturday, April 16 

2 PM, Calvin College Chapel
Remember that trip to the principal’s office? Numerous main characters in Clements’s school stories have run-ins with the principal—sometimes a happy chat, but more often not. Clements reads some of these scenes and talks about the role of the principal in the lives of kids and in the life of a school.
>> Children are welcome and encouraged to attend this session.
>> Free—no tickets required

SARAH BESSEY: Why Everyone Can Write About Theology
4:45 PM, Covenant Fine Arts Center, Auditorium
If you feel unqualified to write about what you know or experience or hope about God because you didn’t attend seminary or don’t have a position in full-time vocational ministry, Sarah Bessey wants to set you free to explore theology and faith with boldness and authority. She discusses how amateurs often reveal fresh ways to encounter God and why the practice of theology belongs to everyone.
>> Tickets available here

FILM: St. Hildegard: Trumpet of God
4:45 PM, Covenant Fine Arts Center, Recital Hall

This film adaptation of mezzo-soprano Linn Maxwell’s one-woman show, developed by dramaturg Stephanie Sandberg, looks at Hildegard’s prophetic visions and relates these visions to ancient biblical prophecies. Hildegard described herself as a “strong female warrior” and publicly rebuked clergy for being weak and immoral. 
>> Free—no tickets required

JOHN DONNELLY: Sea Stacks, Sheep, Whales and God
6 PM, Covenant Fine Arts Center, Center Art Gallery

Join John Donnelly, professor of Art at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, as he walks the audience through his exhibition and experiences visiting the Faroe Islands.
>> Sponsored by Calvin College’s Department of Art and Art History
>> Reception to follow in the West Lobby
>> Free—no tickets required

7:30 PM, Van Noord Arena
The blunt, tattooed pastor talks about the risks and rewards of telling inelegant truths about ourselves.
>> Tickets available here

Sunday, April 17

FILM: Something, Anything
2 PM, Celebration Cinema Woodland (3195 28th Street SE)
In addition to the on-campus screening of Something, Anything on Friday night, we’re partnering with Celebration Cinema Woodland to host a screening of this meditative movie post-Festival.
>> Followed by an interview with the director Paul Harrill conducted by film critic Jeffrey Overstreet
>> Free—no tickets required