This page provides answers to some of the most common questions about Festival 2024. 

Use the quick links above to navigate to a specific topic or scroll through all of our FAQs below. More information will be added as Festival approaches.

General Festival Information

What are the dates of the next Festival?
The next Festival of Faith & Writing is scheduled for April 11-13, 2024, at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Optional pre-Festival workshops will be offered for an extra fee and held on Wednesday, April 10. Festival officially opens at noon on Thursday, April 11, and closes around 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 13.

Who will be speaking at this year’s Festival?
See our fantastic lineup of featured speakers here.

What will the schedule be like?
See the outline of the 2024 schedule here. The full schedule, including concurrent sessions, will be available in March.  

Do I have to be a writer to attend the Festival?
Certainly not! The Festival is designed to be a place where readers and writers can come together to participate in the ongoing discussion about faith in our world today. Authors, readers, and anyone interested in religion and spiritual understanding as it relates to literature is invited to join us and be part of the celebration.

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Festival Registration

When does registration open and close?
Online registration will open at 12pm EST on Tuesday, October 24, 2023 and will close at 11:59pm on Friday, March 22, 2024. 

How do I register?
Detailed instructions on how to register for all Festival-related events can be found here

What is included with my Festival registration?
Your Festival registration includes access to all concurrent sessions and all plenary lectures Thursday through Saturday. Optional Wednesday Workshops are ticketed separately. Meals, lodging, transportation, and non-Festival events are not included. 

How much does it cost to register?
General Admission is $325, and Student Admission is $225. All taxes and fees are included.    

What do my registration dollars fund?
The Festival of Faith & Writing is a wonderfully rich biennial event. It is also an expensive undertaking.

First, your registration mainly goes to offset the honorarium and other costs for our 60+ speakers, all of whom we pay out of a conviction that their words and work are important. Indeed, at the CCFW, we believe that the money we spend on listening to one another’s stories is an investment in faith, hope, and love. Over the past decade, though, that investment has become more costly: speakers’ fees have risen dramatically, as have the costs of travel, lodging, and food. In addition, we also pay stipends and registrations for workshop leaders, and we provide a free registration for Festival Circle leaders. All of the speakers, then, are supported by registration fees.

Second, to host 2,000 readers and writers on Calvin’s campus over three days requires many hours of labor for our small staff, as well as the funds for the space we use, the shuttles that carry Festivalgoers around campus, the coffee we offer at breaks, the set-up for exhibitors and vendors, the programs we print, the technology we use to keep ourselves organized and in touch with you, and so on. All told, registrations contribute to part, but not all, of the costs to put on the Festival of Faith & Writing. We simply would not be able to sustain the Festival–or to carry out any of the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing’s other initiatives–if it were not for the generosity of our community as registrants and as exhibitors, sponsors, and donors. So we are grateful, always, for your part in contributing to this endeavor.

I'm planning to attend with a group. Can I register several people at one time?
Yes, you may register up to ten people in one transaction. You will be required to submit basic information for each attendee at the time of purchase.

If I am a student but do not attend Calvin University, do I still qualify for the student rate?
Yes. Students from any school qualify for the student rate. You must use your school email address when purchasing a student ticket.

Do you offer a group discount?
A group rate is available only for visiting professors who are attending with a group of six or more students. These professors are eligible for the student rate.

Will there be scholarships available?
We are honoring all scholarships that were offered for the canceled 2020 Festival. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer any additional scholarships this year. 

Am I able to bring my children to the Festival?
Infants up to six months are welcome with no ticket required, and we will have spaces available for nursing parents. Besides these spaces, childcare is not provided. Minors between the ages of 13-18 are welcome to attend the Festival with you at the student rate. However, it is important to note that some Festival sessions may include themes and language that might not be suitable for younger children. Alternatively, our opening session at noon on Thursday, April 11 is free to the public and appropriate for children of all ages.

Can I attend Festival for only one day?
With the exception of a limited number of Saturday passes for full-time educators, we are unable to provide single-day tickets for the Festival. Full registration is required to attend Festival sessions other than plenary lectures. See below for information on plenary session tickets.

What if I want to hear only one speaker?
Individual tickets for the opening plenary session and evening plenary lectures will be available through the Calvin University Box Office (616.526.6282) beginning January 16, 2024. All other sessions are available only with a Festival registration, and Festival registration already includes all plenary lectures. Registered Festivalgoers do not need to purchase plenary tickets separately.

Can I attend the Festival virtually?
We are excited to be gathering in person for the first time since 2018, reuniting the strong community the Festival is known for. While we understand the desire for an option to attend virtually, due to our limited budget, staff, and resources, we do not have the capacity to offer a streamed version of the Festival.

Will I be able to access any of the sessions online after the Festival?
Yes! Our podcast, Rewrite Radio, highlights selected Festival sessions. Not only will we feature sessions from the 2024 Festival, but we also share material from Festivals dating as far back as the 1990s. We currently have three seasons of our podcast available on our website. Check it out here.

What is your cancellation policy?
If you are unable to attend either your workshop or the Festival and notify us by February 1, 2024, we will refund 75 percent of your registration fee. We will refund 50 percent of your registration fee through March 8, 2024. We are unable to issue any refunds after March 8, 2024. Donations made during the registration process are not refundable. Cancellation requests must be received via email. Please include your full name, mailing address, and daytime phone number.

What if my flight is delayed or canceled right before the Festival?
While we understand that travel issues are sometimes unavoidable, we are unfortunately unable to provide refunds due to delayed or canceled travel plans.

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Plenary Session Tickets

I can't attend the full Festival, but I'd like to attend the evening plenary sessions. How do I purchase those tickets?
Individual tickets for the evening plenary lectures are available online through the Calvin University Box Office. Evening plenary tickets will also be available for purchase in person from the Calvin Box Office located in Van Noord Arena one hour prior to the event. Please note that the Calvin Box Office only accepts credit and debit cards.  For more information or to purchase plenary tickets, click here.

Are children and school groups welcome at the Festival of Faith & Writing plenary events?
Yes, we welcome people of all ages to attend talks by our plenary speakers. By tradition, our free opening session at noon on Thursday is suitable for children and school groups. Children are also welcome to attend our evening plenary sessions; however, please note that evening sessions may include themes and language that may not be suitable for younger ages. 

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Workshop Wednesday

What is Workshop Wednesday?
New in 2024, Workshop Wednesday offers readers & writers the chance to work directly with Festival speakers and other expert faculty for a generative, pre-conference experience. 

Taking place on Wednesday, April 10, the day before Festival begins, Workshop Wednesday is an optional day to focus on your writing and personal development—or to try something new.

The number of participants for each workshop is limited to ensure a valuable, personal workshop experience. Workshop spaces are allotted on a first-come, first-served basis with payment. 

Can I sign up for a workshop without registering for the Festival?
Yes. All workshops take place the day before Festival begins (Wednesday, April 10) and do not conflict with any Festival events. Workshop participants are not required to attend Festival in the days that follow (April 11-13).

Is there a discount if I attend both the Festival and a workshop?
Yes! All registered Festival attendees are eligible for a discounted Workshop rate.

To see the full list of Workshops, click here

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Festival Lunch Circles

What are Festival Lunch Circles?
The 2024 Festival of Faith & Writing will once again include Festival Circles, small groups that meet twice during the Festival to discuss a topic of common interest. Each circle is composed of no more than 20 attendees and is led or co-led by Festival participants. Festival Circles are a wonderful way to shrink the festival experience and to make new, like-minded friends!

This year, all Festival Circles will meet during lunch on Friday and Saturday in Calvin's Knollcrest Dining Hall. 

To see the 2024 Festival Lunch Circles, click here

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Travel & Accommodations

How will I get to Grand Rapids, where should I stay, and how will I get around town once I'm there?
We are eager to welcome you to Grand Rapids and the Calvin University campus! For information on how to get here, where to stay, and how to get around, click here

Do you have suggestions for area hotels?
Several hotels close to the Calvin University campus have offered special rates for Festival attendees. Click here for more information on hotels.  

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Accessibility

What will accessibility look like at the Festival?
The Center for Faith & Writing is committed to making all reasonable arrangements to allow attendees to participate in every event at the Festival of Faith & Writing.

Calvin University’s campus complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and we work to make the Festival comfortable and accessible for all participants. We recognize not all disabilities require accommodations, and some are invisible.

The Festival offers accommodations such as accessible parking and doors, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation during the opening session and evening plenary sessions, a Loop hearing aid audio system in our larger venues, on-campus shuttles, a detailed accessibility map, quiet spaces to reflect and regroup, and on-site contacts when help is needed.

We want Festivalgoers to come as they are, and we aim to be as inclusive as possible; if you have individual needs or concerns, or have a question about accessibility, please contact the Center for Faith & Writing at ccfw@calvin.edu.

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Food at the Festival

What are my options for food at the Festival?
Festival attendees have a variety of options for meals and snacks, both on and off Calvin's Campus. Off campus options include:

  • Local Restaurants - Grand Rapids boasts a wealth of local restaurants. Find a few of our favorites here
  • Chain Restaurants - A variety of chain restaurants are located within a mile of Calvin’s campus (particularly along the 28th street corridor) for those looking for convenient and inexpensive options. 
  • Hotel - All of our recommended hotels offer breakfast, with several offering complimentary breakfast. Several also have in-hotel restaurants and/or room service. Please check with your hotel to confirm amenities. 
  • Bring Your Own - You are welcome to bring your own food to the Festival. Lunch seating will be provided in the Hoogenboom Health & Recreation center inside the Fieldhouse. If you do bring your own food, please be courteous about disposing of any trash.

What are my options for meals on campus?

  • Breakfast and Dinner: There are no on-campus options for breakfast and dinner.  We encourage you to check the options at your hotel and/or take advantage of the vibrant local restaurant scene. 
  • Lunch: On Friday and Saturday, the quickest, most convenient way for Festival attendees to eat lunch on-campus is to preorder boxed lunches or participate in a Festival Lunch Circle:   
    • Festival Lunch Circles @ Knollcrest Dining Hall ($15 each day)—Preregister to join a Lunch Circle; fee covers Friday and Saturday lunch.  For more information about Festival Lunch Circles, click here.

What are my options for snacks and drinks on campus?

  • Coffee - Free coffee stations will be located at major Festival venues. 
  • Knight Fuel Markets - These grab-and-go markets offer quick snacks and drinks.  
  • Peets Coffee - A branch of this national chain is located on the first floor of the Spoelhof University Center.  

Please note: Calvin University classes are in session during the Festival. Calvin’s Commons dining hall will be reserved for Calvin University students and staff for the duration of the Festival.   

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Sponsors & Exhibitors

Where can I find information about participating in the Festival as a sponsor or exhibitor?
For more information about partnering with us as a Sponsor or Exhibitor, click here. If you would like to learn more but haven't partnered with the CCFW in this capacity before, please email ccfw@calvin.edu to express your interest, and we'll be sure to reach out to you.

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Participation

What opportunities are there to connect with other attendees during the Festival?
Festival is, first and foremost, a community of book lovers. You can connect with other Festival attendees by joining a Festival Lunch Circle, attending a Workshop, or joining a conversation on our Festival App, where attendees will be chatting about everything from sessions to ridesharing.  

Will there be an opportunity to interact with Festival speakers outside of workshops and lectures?
Our speakers will hold book signings during the Festival. Many of our speakers enjoy attending Festival events, so you will likely see them both on and offstage throughout the Festival. Because they are attending the Festival just like you are, please be mindful and respectful if you want to approach them and ask for a selfie or an autograph outside of a book signing. 

Am I allowed to take videos or photos during the workshops and lectures?
For contractual reasons, personal audio or video recording of sessions is not permitted. While recordings are not allowed, photography is welcome during the Festival! However, please be mindful of those around you when taking pictures. Refrain from using flash and please do not block the view of other Festival attendees when taking photos. If you share your pictures on social media, please tag us! #FFWgr2024

I am a writer and would like to be invited to speak at the Festival. How do I go about that?
We are unable to accept any additional speakers for Festival 2024. Details on our speaker policy are available here.

I am a writer and I'd like to share my work with editors and publishers.  How can I do that?
The Center for Faith & Writing hosts a Submittable account for writers, agents, editors, and publishers. Those working on the publishing side have the opportunity to review all proposals and will contact writers whose work interests them. See more details about Submittable here

I'm not a corporate sponsor but would like to financially support the work of the Festival. Can I still donate?
Yes! You can support the work of the Festival by becoming a Friend of the Festival. Registration fees cover only a portion of the FFW’s budget; people like you help fill the gap. Your support–in the amount that’s right for you–will help sustain our thriving literary community. You can add a tax-deductible gift during the Festival registration process or give anytime via the Donate page on our website. As a Friend of the Festival, you will receive special recognition in the Festival program and on our website.  

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Health & Safety

What COVID-19 precautions will be in place for the Festival?
We will follow the current CDC guidelines and recommendations. Masks are certainly welcomed, and hand sanitizing stations are readily available across the Calvin University campus.  

What if I get sick with COVID at the Festival or have a known positive exposure?
If you contract COVID, please take care of yourself and others by isolating and resting.  

Safer Spaces Policy
Hospitality is a foundational value for the CCFW and for all its initiatives, including the Festival of Faith & Writing.

As our vision statement says: In all its activities, the CCFW endeavors to create spaces wherein people from many faith traditions are welcomed warmly, listened to with respect and generosity, and inspired to deeper engagement with the common good.

For this reason among others, we’re enthusiastic supporters of Calvin University’s Safer Spaces policy. Safer Spaces, in keeping with Title IX, aims to eliminate discrimination and violence based on sex, but the university’s policy also goes beyond Title IX to include all instances of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, ability, or another other marker of identity. We are committed to providing a gracious welcome and just treatment for all protected groups on Calvin’s campus and in the wider Calvin community.

Students, staff, and faculty associated with the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing are trained to spot, report, and, when possible, disrupt harassment. We also expect the CCFW’s broader community to join our efforts to create a safe space for all fellow readers by approaching others with respect and generosity.

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Community

I'm not a Christian. Can I attend the Festival? 
Yes! The Festival is designed to be a place where readers and writers can come together to participate in the ongoing discussion about faith in our world today. Authors, readers, and anyone interested in religion and spiritual understanding as it relates to literature are invited to join us and be part of the celebration. Hospitality is at the core of the CCFW’s efforts to convene conversations between people from the many diverse communities made and served by religious writing. In all its activities, the CCFW endeavors to create spaces wherein people from many faith traditions are welcomed warmly, listened to with respect and generosity, and inspired to deeper engagement with the common good.

How will the Christian Reformed Church of North America’s synodical decisions about LGBTQ+ people in the church affect the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing, including the Festival of Faith & Writing?
Throughout its history (see our mission statement) the CCFW—and its flagship event, the Festival of Faith & Writing—has cultivated conversation between people of diverse identities and convictions. It will continue to do so. We believe that all of us have a great deal to learn from others’ stories, those that align with our own experiences and those that do not. We believe that any voice speaking in love deserves a hearing. We believe that charitable disagreement is a hallmark of truth-seeking and that respectful critique can be a form of generosity.

Our primary criteria for inviting speakers, then, is not whether we agree with them but rather that their work is compelling, the product of careful thought, good will, and moral courage.

Moreover, we believe that the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing embodies Calvin University’s mission “to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholehearted as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.” Indeed, Reformed Christianity urges us to welcome challenging questions in the hope of learning more about God and God’s creation. And, of course, Reformed Christianity has a long history of wrestling with difficult texts. 

If you are wondering whether you are welcome at the Festival of Faith & Writing, the short answer is Yes. Faithful readers—whatever their stories—can always be sure of their welcome at the CCFW.

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Explore Grand Rapids

If you’re new to the Festival, or especially if you’ve been attending for years and haven’t taken the opportunity to step off campus, we hope you’ll consider exploring our friendly city. Over the last several years, Grand Rapids has seen a boom in openings of serious coffee places, craft breweries and distilleries, and restaurants with menus that venture well beyond hamburgers. To learn more about exploring GR, click here.

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If you have a question that is not covered here, please contact us.