Schedule

The Festival of Faith & Writing is a celebration of books and big questions that spans days, acres, and genres, with a little something for everyone: poetry readings, author interviews, workshops focused on craft, solo lectures, concerts, plays, an open mic, panels about the writing life, small group discussions, book signings, an exhibit hall full of publishers and journals, and more. There are even places on campus to get away from the party and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.

Below you will find a basic outline of our 2016 Festival schedule. Check back in early April for a detailed list of events.

UPDATE: The full schedule is now available!

>> Registered Festival-goers have access to all Festival events, EXCEPT the Mountain Goats concert on Thursday night, for which a separate ticket is required. Single event tickets are available to the handful of events indicated below. <<

THURSDAY, APRIL 14

9 am
Registration Desk and Exhibit Hall Open
Prince Conference Center

10:30 am
OPENING SESSION 
“O God Our Help in Ages Past, Our Hope for Years to Come”: A Service of Gratitude and Dedication
Join us to celebrate and give thanks for 25 years of the Festival of Faith & Writing and for the establishment of the new Calvin Center for Faith & Writing with this short service of praise, prayer, and poetry. We will also commission the Center’s first co-directors.
Calvin College Chapel

12 pm
WIERSMA MEMORIAL LECTURE
TOBIAS WOLFF: Some Doubts About Certainty
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.
Van Noord Arena
>> This lecture is open to the public. No ticket or registration needed.  

1:45 pm 
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

2:45 pm 
COFFEE BREAK

3:15 pm
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

4:30 pm
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

6 pm
FESTIVAL CIRCLES

7:30 pm
KEYNOTE
An Evening with Zadie Smith
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.
Van Noord Arena
>> Individual event tickets are available here. 

9 pm
CONCERT
The Mountain Goats in Concert
Covenant Fine Arts Center, Auditorium
>> Individual event tickets are available here

FRIDAY, APRIL 15

8:30 am 
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

9:30 am 
COFFEE BREAK

10 am 
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

11:30 am 
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

12:45 pm 
LUNCH FORUMS

Christians who Drink Craft Beer: The Rise of Middle Space Artists and Audiences in Entertainment
ERIK LOKKESMOE, CHARLIE LOWELL, WILLIAM ROMANOWSKI
The 1970’s folk song, “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” might be better sung as, “They Will Know We Are Christians By… Our Low-Budget Movies” in 2016. In this session, Erik Lokkesmoe, executive producer of Last Days in the Desert, discusses the growth of the “in-betweeners” who exist between mass/crass and teach/preach art and entertainment. Questions he’ll explore include: What does common grace look like in the arts? What is the role of the artist in a pre-Christian world? How is the middle-space audience changing how content is created and consumed? Adding to Lokkesmoe’s insights will be musician Charlie Lowell of Jars of Clay and William Romanowski of Calvin College.
Sponsored by Different Drummer
Prince Conference Center, Board Room

Wine, the Slow Food Movement, and Spirituality
GISELA KREGLINGER
In The Spirituality of Wine, Gisela Kreglinger offers a fresh, holistic vision of the Christian life that sees God at work in all created things, including the beauty of well-crafted wine shared with others around a table. She brings Christian spirituality and the world of wine together in new ways, drawing both upon interviews with vintners from around the world and on her own experience growing up on a family winery in Bavaria. Join Gisela Kreglinger for a lunchtime exploration of wine, spirituality, and what it’s like to be writing at the intersection of theology and the Slow Food movement.
Sponsored by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Prince Conference Center, Hickory Room

The Art and Wonder of Writing for Children and Teens
ANNETTE BOURLAND, GLENYS NELLIST, LORIE LANGDON
Have you ever wanted to write a children’s picture book? Has YA fiction captured your imagination and writing zeal? It takes a special kind of writer to create stories (and intrigue!) for children and young adults. Writing for them requires not only a degree of child-brain and kid-memory, but a certain skill set and calling. In our time together, Zondervan publisher Annette Bourland will introduce two dynamic writers. Glenys Nellist will share how she made her picture-book writing dream a reality, and then best-selling author Lorie Langdon will share how dynamic marketing goes hand-in-hand with great content.
A complimentary boxed lunch will be provided for the first 30 attendees to arrive.
Sponsored by Zonderkidz
Prince Conference Center, Willow Room West

Hard Realities, Continual Rejection, and Occasional Disasters: A Publishing Journey
ALISON HODGSON, THE REAL PUG OLIVER
Alison Hodgson arrived at her first writer’s conference filled with hope, which was quickly crushed when she learned the harsh realities of publishing, beginning with: a platform isn’t merely a stage. After she wasted a few years fighting despair, things began to look up—until an arsonist randomly set her house on fire. But, she learned the great thing about being a writer is that even your worst times can become your best story. Hear Alison’s experience of becoming an author, learn insider tips, and meet The Real Pug Oliver, who became an essential part of Alison’s story!
A complimentary boxed lunch will be provided for the first 30 attendees to arrive.
Sponsored by Zondervan
Prince Conference Center, Willow Room East

2 pm 
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

3:30 pm
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

4:30 pm
–6 pm
PARTY AT THE PRINCE
Author Shauna Niequist hosts the Party at the Prince in the Exhibit Hall. Meet up with friends and enjoy snacks, book signings, and special giveaways. Be sure to get the center square of your FFW Bingo card stamped at the party for a chance to win a free registration to the 2018 Festival of Faith & Writing.
Prince Conference Center, Exhibit Hall

7:30 pm
KEYNOTE
An Evening with George Saunders and Tobias Wolff
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.
Van Noord Arena
>> Individual event tickets are available here

9 pm
EVENING ACTIVITIES

Screening: Something, Anything
When a tragedy shatters her plans for domestic bliss, a seemingly typical Southern newlywed gradually transforms into a spiritual seeker, quietly threatening the closest relationships around her. One of ten projects selected in 2013 for IFP’s Narrative Lab, this debut feature from Paul Harrill is both a meditative character study and an unconventional romance.
DeVos Communication Center, Bytwerk Theater

Open Mic Poetry Reading
Hosted by Calvin’s creative journal Dialogue, this open mic event allows writers to share their poetry (or other work) for up to ten minutes. Sign up at the Registration Desk by 6 pm.
The Fish House

SATURDAY, APRIL 16

8:30 am 
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

9:30 am 
COFFEE BREAK

10 am 
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

11:30 am 
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

12:45 pm 
LUNCH FORUMS

Loaded Language
MARILYN CHANDLER McENTYRE
Especially in an election year, American public discourse is riddled with loaded language—buzz words, labels, abstractions, slogans, phrases abducted from respectable sources and forcibly infused with new meaning. Hijacked words become for a time the property of hijackers. Though most slogans have a short half-life, they tend to color common speech and confuse common sense. Churches and faith communities are affected by the “load” on public language as it seeps into their internal conversation. In this session we’ll consider what loads language and how to approach the task of retrieving, repurposing, or sometimes rerouting our writing around “hot” words.
Sponsored by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
Prince Conference Center, Board Room

Re-Enchanting Christian Writing
WESLEY HILL, KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR, JAMES K. A. SMITH, NORMAN WIRZBA
In his new book, You Are What You Love, James K. A. Smith writes, “I expect it will be forms of reenchanted Christianity that will actually have a future.” Join us for a short panel discussion on how thoughtful Christian non-fiction can help foster this reenchantment. Topics will include friendship, literature, worship, and creation. Box lunches will be provided for the first 40 attendees, and a book signing will follow.
Sponsored by Baker Publishing Group
Prince Conference Center, Willow Room

2 pm 
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

3 pm 
COFFEE BREAK

3:30 pm
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

4:45 pm

CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Unqualified: Why Everyone Can Write About Theology
SARAH BESSEY
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.
Covenant Fine Arts Center, Auditorium
>> Individual event tickets are available here

7:30 pm
THE BARON LECTURE
An Evening with Nadia Bolz-Weber
The blunt, tattooed pastor talks about the risks and rewards of telling inelegant truths about ourselves.
Van Noord Arena
>> Individual event tickets are available here