Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Festival — Martin

I am so pumped right now. I arrived home on Sunday from my biannual pilgrimage to The Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. If you are a literary writer, who takes your art seriously, I recommend that you start planning now to attend the next Festival in April of 2010.

There are so many benefits to going. It’s a great place to be exposed to wonderful books. Scores of authors of varying genres are there reading, teaching and discussing the art and craft of writing. During many of the time slots there were ten different options, making it difficult to choose between — say — a panel discussion on humour writing, a poetry reading, a session on screenwriting, and an interview with a famous novelist. Over the three days, my friend Henry and I hadn’t attended the same concurrent session once, until I switched one of mine last minute just to simplify things.

There are many other related things happening on campus too. We attended concerts Thursday and Saturday nights with Caedmon’s Call and Iron & Wine — although we were exhausted from the pace we’d set all conference.

This year was the third Festival of Faith & Writing that I have attended. It’s a great place to make connections with magazine editors and book publishers. Publications such as Books & Culture, Image, Relief, Rock & Sling and Ruminate were there. Publishers such as Baker, Eerdmans, IVP, Paraclete, WordFarm, and Zondervan had displays.

The Festival is predominantly, but not exclusively a Christian conference. It’s interesting to hear the perspective of a Jewish writer such as Michael Chabon (The Yiddish Policemen’s Union) or an uncommitted seeker such as Yann Martel (Life of Pi).

For me the highlight is interacting with some of the finest poets anywhere — this year Luci Shaw, Paul Mariani, Rod Jellema, Mary Karr, Scott Cairns, and Pulitzer Prize winner Franz Wright were some of them.
It’s a great place to advance your writing. Will I see you there in 2010?

D.S. Martin is Music Critic for Christian Week; his poetry chapbook So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed is available at

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