Sunday, April 25, 2004

307 Festival Report #1

“Are you a writer? Not really. I’m a reader.” I heard that a lot at the Festival of Faith and Writing last Thursday through Saturday, and truly, if you love to read, write--even in a journal (one session was on blogging)-- or you are connected in some way with library or publishing work--this is the dessert table at the banquet of books. The next Festival will be in 2006, so save your nickels and dimes and vacation time.

The campus of Calvin College is beautiful with sensible parking plans, also a visual, well-endowed feast of 70s and 80s architecture (campus relocated around 1960), the young student staff who manned registration and snack tables was polite and helpful, the English and the Communications faculty who introduced all the speakers were articulate and knowledgeable, and the schedule was full and tight but manageable with shuttle service.

However, most importantly, the programming was planned to please those interested in a variety of genre and writing styles--criticism, drama, publishing, music, fiction, writing for children, poetry, non-fiction, story-telling, memoir, e-media, and traditional media. There were a variety of formats including workshops, panels, lectures, readings by the authors, musical performances, stage productions, “conversations with. . .” and lots of opportunities to meet with the authors at book-signings.

Founder Dale Brown writes: "We come to this place with hope for more good ideas, more good words, more ways to think about the lives we lead. . . Imagine a gathering that combines the erudition of a literary conference with the heat of a Billy Sunday revival." (Conference program)

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