Speaker Policy

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 two categories: featured speakers and panelists.

Featured Speakers

The FFW Planning Committee—led by the Festival director and comprised 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 we don't strictly forbid it, 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 49546-4404


In addition to sessions that feature invited speakers, the Festival of Faith & Writing hosts many 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 lively conversation with the FFW community so many writers bring to our biennial gathering.

The FFW Planning Committee puts out a call for panel proposals—usually the summer before the next Festival—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:

  1. 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.
  2. Before pitching the idea, the person submitting the panel proposal must secure a commitment from each person involved to participate if the proposal is selected. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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 or publishers. As such, successful panel proposals will most often involve people affiliated with a variety of publishers and/or projects.
  5. 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 review programs from past Festivals on our website. 
  6. Submitting a panel proposal indicates 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.
  7. 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.

+++ The FFW Planning Committee is now accepting proposals for panels at the next Festival, April 12-14, 2018. Proposals are due by August 15, 2017 and decisions will be made by October 1, 2017.+++