The Festival of Faith & Writing celebrates excellent writing that takes faith seriously. Our biennial gathering brings together readers—many of whom are also writers—in a lively weekend of conversations, readings, concerts, workshops, plays, screenings, and more. For people who are passionate about the often solitary pleasures of great literature, the Festival of Faith & Writing is a friendly community of diverse perspectives on religion and creative expression, bound together by time and space and coffee.
The roster for each Festival of Faith & Writing includes scores of writers and storytellers working in mediums including books, music, films, stage, radio, and more. These speakers fall into three categories: featured speakers, panelists, and workshop leaders.
The FFW Planning Committee—led by the Festival director and composed of Calvin Center for Faith & Writing staff and Faculty Fellows—actively researches contemporary writers whose work intersects with matters of faith. Based on this research and in conversation with the committee, the Festival director builds a roster of featured speakers for each Festival that reflects the diversity of the literary arts—across genre, age, culture, and creed—when it comes to exploring faith with creativity and insight.
In order to give ample time and attention to the many writers doing compelling work at the intersection of faith and literature, speakers are rarely featured more than once. When we do repeat an invitation, we normally allow a minimum of two Festivals to pass between appearances.
In general, featured speakers are discovered through committee research, suggestions from Festivalgoers, and the advocacy of publishers and publicists who understand our unique event. While not strictly forbidden, we discourage writers from contacting the FFW Planning Committee directly to recommend themselves as featured speakers. Instead, please have your publisher send us review copies of any available books along with a note that expresses your interest in our event.
Digital materials can be sent to:
Please put “FFW Planning Committee” in the subject line.
Packages can be sent to:
Calvin Center of Faith & Writing
Attn: FFW Planning Committee
1795 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
In addition to sessions that feature invited speakers, the Festival of Faith & Writing hosts panels that feature wide-ranging discussions about publishing, craft, and the writing life. These panels often include former or future featured speakers, and always represent the ongoing dedication to shared learning and conversation with the Festival community that so many writers bring to our biennial gathering.
The FFW Planning Committee puts out a call for panel proposals—usually the summer before the Festival, information will appear here when available—and welcomes anyone to submit ideas that fit our guidelines (see below). Those proposals are reviewed by the FFW Planning Committee and selected based on the varied programming needs of each Festival. Panelists involved with approved proposals are compensated for their contribution with a complimentary registration to the Festival. Unlike featured speakers, panelists do not have frequency restrictions. They are eligible to present at any Festival for which their proposal(s) is accepted, though we do generally limit panelists to two panels at any given Festival.
Panel Proposal Guidelines:
- Panels should include no fewer than three people, no more than five. Interviews and solo presentations are not panels, and proposals for them will not be considered.
- Before pitching the idea to the FFW Planning Committee, the person submitting the panel proposal must secure a commitment from each person involved to participate if the proposal is selected.
- Outside moderators are not provided for panels. The proposal must include plans for who among those involved will guide the conversation. Often, but not always, this is the person who organizes and proposes the panel.
- Panels should be oriented around topics, often those related to publishing, craft, or the writing life. They are not vehicles to promote specific books/projects, publishers, or businesses and any direct call to action (explicit or implicit) should be avoided. As such, successful panel proposals will most often involve people affiliated with a variety of publishers, companies, and/or projects (versus focusing on just one of any of the above). We are happy when Festivalgoers feel inspired to purchase books or services after good interaction with folks at the Festival, but we never want a panel to function as a pitch.
- The committee is looking for fresh takes on issues of perennial interest to our Festivalgoers (how to get published, navigating the ethics of memoir, etc.), as well as new panel ideas. To get an idea of the kinds of panels we generally offer, please visit our History page to view the schedules from past Festivals.
- Submitting a panel proposal indicates that the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing has full permission from all involved to record the panel for our archives and for publication, if we so choose.
- If a proposal is selected, the Festival of Faith & Writing will cover the registration fees of all panel participants. We are, however, unable to assist with travel, lodging, or meals.
In addition to sessions that feature invited speakers and panel conversations, the Festival of Faith & Writing hosts a limited number of workshops, tiny practicums for readers and writers. Whereas panels provide lively discussions of the issues related to publishing, craft, or the writing life, workshops provide opportunities to dig into the “how to” with an experienced practitioner. We are especially interested in workshops that involve hands-on projects, in-class exercises, and workshops that center reading.
The FFW Planning Committee puts out a call for workshop proposals—usually the summer before the Festival, information will appear here when available—and welcomes anyone to submit ideas that fit our guidelines (see below). Those proposals are reviewed by the FFW Planning Committee and selected based on the varied programming needs of each Festival. Workshop leaders with approved proposals are compensated for their contribution with a complimentary registration to the Festival. Unlike featured speakers, workshop leaders do not have frequency restrictions. They are eligible to present at any Festival for which their proposal(s) is accepted, though we do generally limit leaders to two workshops (or one workshop and one panel, two sessions total) at any given Festival.
Workshop proposal guidelines:
- Festival workshops provide opportunities to dig into the “how to” with an experienced practitioner. We are especially interested in workshops that involve hands-on projects for beginners, instruction for advanced writers on specific aspects of craft, and workshops that center reading.
- Workshops can be drop-in sessions. Leaders can also design their workshops so that they require pre-registration, advance prep by participants, and/or a cap on the number of participants.
- Proposals can include modest materials fees.
- Any specific workshop only meets once during the Festival, but it can be either one or two hours long.
- Workshops can be scheduled at any point during the Festival’s normal operating hours (Thursday: noon-5pm; Friday and Saturday: 8am-5pm) and those who submit proposals confirm their availability for the duration of the Festival should their proposals be selected.
- Workshop proposals should include no more than two leaders. One leader is preferred. If the session idea involves three or more people, consider submitting a panel proposal.
- Workshops are not vehicles to promote specific businesses, and any direct call to action (explicit or implicit) should be avoided. At no point should workshop participants feel like they are being pitched goods or services.
- If a workshop proposal is selected, the Festival of Faith & Writing will cover the registration fees of the workshop leader. We are, however, unable to assist with travel, lodging, or meals.