Fostering scholarship & community around the literary arts.
Festival of Faith & Writing
The Festival of Faith & Writing began in 1990 as an exploration of the communities made and served by writers exploring the intersections of faith and the literary arts. Since its inception, the Festival has brought both new and established talent, writing in a wide range of genres, to speak about a variety of issues related to faith and the craft of storytelling.
The Festival has welcomed to Calvin more than 13,000 attendees and hundreds of renowned speakers to Calvin College, including Maya Angelou, John Updike, Yann Martel, Elie Wiesel, Marilynne Robinson, Donald Hall, Eugene Peterson, Katherine Paterson, Anne Lamott, Kathleen Norris, Kate DiCamillo, Luci Shaw, and many more.
The Festival of Faith & Writing is a biennial celebration of literature and belief, both broadly construed. Drawing more than 2,000 people from across the world to Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Festival offers three days of lively lectures, readings, conversations, films, workshops, concerts, plays, and more, all fueled by coffee and good food. It’s a feast for readers, including those who also write.
Rooted in the Christian Reformed belief in common grace, the Festival of Faith & Writing creates space for meaningful discussion and shared discovery among people with different religious beliefs and practices. On the campus of Calvin College, we bring together diverse voices and perspectives in thoughtful reflection on the stories that we shape and that also shape us.
Since our first gathering in 1990, we have been privileged to host hundreds of writers, including Maya Angelou, John Updike, Elie Wiesel, Marilynne Robinson, Zadie Smith, Miroslav Volf, Salman Rushdie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, George Saunders, Christian Wiman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Tobias Wolff, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Mary Karr, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Yancey, Anne Lamott, Ann Voskamp, and Michael Chabon.
Over the last 28 years, the Festival has grown from an event into a community. The connections made during each Festival—over coffee, during small affinity groups called Festival Circles, at booths in our Exhibit Hall, in lecture halls—play out year round in book clubs and publishing houses, writing desks and reading chairs. Festivalgoers stay connected to each other and the writers they’ve met at the Festival via our bimonthly newsletter, Bookkeeping. And everyone can listen to past Festival presentations via our podcast, Rewrite Radio.
Most recently, the Festival of Faith & Writing has become the flagship initiative of the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing. The CCFW was created in 2016 to build on the rich heritage of the Festival and to expand this conversation around belief and literature into additional educational opportunities for students, deeper community engagement, and sustained scholarship.