Festival Circles are small groups that meet at least two times during each Festival to discuss a topic of common interest. Circles are composed of approximately 12–15 attendees and led by a fellow Festivalgoer. Topic vary widely and previous groups have discussed everything from poetry as prayer to film criticism to children’s picture books.
Signups for these Festival Circles typically open two months before the Festival and fill up quickly. Information will be available here when signups are open. Occasionally there are still spots open for late additions during the Festival itself. Information about any openings will be available at the registration desk.
If you would like to facilitate a Festival Circle, look for proposal information the summer before the Festival. Information will be available here when the proposal window is open. Festival Circle facilitators are eligible for a discounted registration, but are responsible for their own travel, lodging, and meals. Responsibilities include:
- Proposing a topic that will focus your Festival Circle. Festival Circle topics can be quite varied. For example, in the past, many circles focused on writing-related topics, including The Challenges of Memoir-Writing, Creative Writing in the Composition Classroom, Writing and Family Life, and Spiritual Themes in Children’s Literature. There have also been Festival Circles that engaged specific groups of people, including a Pastors’ Circle, High School Teachers’ Circle, and Bloggers’ Circle. You are in no way bound by these topics, however. We are open to suggestions of all kinds.
- Corresponding with attendees who are interested in being a part of your circle.
- Contacting the participants prior to the Festival to provide them with information about the meeting place and times and to invite suggestions for the discussions.
- Guiding the conversation during the meetings by asking key questions and raising important issues about your topic, particularly in light of the sessions attended by participants during the Festival.
- Completing an evaluation after the Festival.