Calvin’s Festival of Faith and Writing

By November 6, 2013Writing
Every other year, Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, hosts the Festival of Faith and Writing. It is fantastico! Def my favorite conference. And we’re coming up on another one, April 10-12, 2014. Online registration will open later this month. The early registration rate–in effect through January 31, 2014—is $185. After that, the regular registration rate of $200 takes effect. The student registration rate is $85.
Okay, on to the good stuff. Today I received lots of news about books and authors along with Festival announcements:  

–The list of featured speakers, recommended reading, book club resources, and lots more is now available on the Festival of Faith and Writing’s web site.

–Recent additions to the speaker list include New York Times columnist Verlyn Klinkenborg, journalist Jeff Chu, novelist Suzanne Woods Fisher, poet Sean Hill, pop-culture writer Donna Bowman, novelist Okey Ndibe, young adult author Swati Avasthi, and fiction/nonfiction writer Peter Orner. Follow the link to read more about all of them —and the rest of the Calvin speakers on the speakers’  section of the web site.  
–Over the coming months, the Festival site will showcase several excellent books by Festival 2014 authors in a section called Festival Favorites. The goal of this section is to shine light on some good books that perhaps aren’t (yet) on our bookshelves. November’s featured book is Janisse Ray’s The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, an exploration of what we lose when plant-seed varieties become extinct, and what ordinary farmers across the country are doing to save these seeds. Go to Calvin’s Festival Favorites section to read more about this book, including an excerpt. 
–The list of finalists for the National Book Award has been announced, and two of the authors are featured Festival speakers. In the young adult literature category, graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang has been nominated for a second time for his two-volume work Boxers and Saints. (His first nomination, —and the first ever for a graphic novel, —was for American Born Chinese.) Follow this link to read a Boxers and Saints excerpt
Nominated in the poetry category is Mary Szybist’s’s IncarnadineHer first volume, Granted, was a finalist for another award, the National Book Critics Circle Award. Listen to an interview with Szybist, in which she reads poems from Incarnadine.

–Festival speaker Christopher Beha’s’s Twitter conversation with author and blogger Jennifer Weiner about the fiction preferences of the New York Times Book Review (she bemoans, he congratulates) led to a post on his blog, which led to its reprint in SlateIt’’s a long but thoughtful read in which Beha delineates commercially successful fiction from “holy crap fiction.” 

–G. Willow Wilson’s book, Alif the Unseen, won a 2013 World Fantasy Award in the novel category this month. The novel tells the tale of a young Arab-Indian hacker who finds himself on the run from the state’’s electronic security force, lost in the secret world of the jinn. Check out the New York Times review

–Swati Avasthi recently published her second young adult novel, Chasing Shadows. Told in prose with images by Craig Phillips, it was chosen as a Junior Library Guild Selection and to date has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, the School Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews, which called it “haunting, mesmerizing, and intense.” 


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