The Festival of Faith & Writing is first and foremost a party for booklovers. With 150+ different sessions over three days, Festivalgoers have multiple options during almost every hour of the day and can follow their interests into forums covering a wide variety of topics and offering different experiences. Together we talk about our favorite books, read poems, drink coffee, write our own essays, watch provocative documentaries, make our own chapbooks, listen to beautiful songs, and more.
One of the sentiments we often hear from people who attend the Festival of Faith & Writing is this: I’ve found my people. We embrace this sentiment even as we celebrate stories that help expand our notions about who “our people” are in the first place. At the Festival we endeavor to create space wherein people from many faith traditions are welcomed warmly, listened to with respect and generosity, and inspired to deeper engagement with the common good.
Opportunities to connect with fellow readers, writers, and publishing professionals abound throughout the Festival, including at coffee breaks hosted across campus, during leisurely breaks for meals, and in the exhibit hall. Those who appreciate a little structure when meeting new people might consider joining one of the Festival Circles, small groups of 10-15 people that gather to discuss shared interest twice during the Festival. Signups for these groups typically open two months before the Festival and fill up quickly, though occasionally there are still spots open for late additions during the Festival itself. Information about any openings will be available at the registration desk. Festivalgoers are also encouraged to stay connected to news and the writers they’ve met at the Festival via our bimonthly newsletter, Bookkeeping.
In addition to programming focused on reading, the Festival of Faith & Writing provides opportunities for aspiring and established writers to hone their skills via panels and workshops on craft and publishing. Some workshops require pre-registration and a nominal surcharge, information that is typically released two months prior to the Festival.
Many clergy and teachers consider the Festival a professional development event and we have sessions geared for both. The Festival also provides State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs) in collaboration with the education department here at Calvin College. More information coming soon.
Festivalgoers may find it helpful to take breaks from the programming in one of the quiet places of rest on campus. The Calvin Ecosystem Preserve, located about 500 feet behind the Prince Conference Center, is a beautiful place to walk or sit and recharge. Other quiet spaces are indicated on the program and provide room for reflection, an aspect of the Festival experience as vital as any session on the program. Plus, we love our introverts and know the Festival can be overwhelming!