Following the postponement of the 30th anniversary Festival of Faith & Writing (full statement here), this page is meant to answer questions about next steps toward Festival 2021. 


Why are you saying “postponement” and not “canceled”?

We are working to retain as much of our 2020 schedule–including speakers, workshops, Festival Circles, and sessions–as possible. Rather than cancel the sessions & speakers we’d slated for Festival’s 30th anniversary, we’re hopeful that #FFWgr2021 will be much like the rewarding and celebratory gathering that we intended to host this year. And, since Festival is held every other year, we were able to move to 2021 without canceling another iteration.

I never received an email about the postponement–why?

In short: You should have. We sent more than 2,000 individual emails to all registered attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, and partners before the postponement was announced on social media. If you are in one of these categories and did not receive an email, it is because of a technical reason outside of our control, such as a bounceback (though we did follow up individually for these as well), or another firewall/email server issue.

It’s important to us that your questions are answered and you have the information you need. You will continue to find the most up-to-date information about Festival 2021 on our website, including this FAQ page and the Festival updates page.

Can you pay for my nonrefundable airline ticket?

We are not able to cover the cost of attendees’ flights, but a number of Festivalgoers have been reporting that they were able to contact their airline directly (either by phone or social media) and receive refunds after explaining the situation. Some airlines honor transfers/cancellations as standard policy, and many other major airlines are issuing them given the widespread nature of COVID-19 and its impact on travel. Much of our effort to communicate the postponement quickly was to allow as much time as possible for attendees to contact airlines and hotels.

Do you know that your new dates conflict with my school’s spring break?

Choosing dates for each Festival is always a challenge–with 2,000 guests and nearly 100 speakers, we aren’t able to find dates that work for everyone. We aim to accommodate major events and holidays, but ultimately we are dependent upon the Calvin University calendar and when enough space is available around campus for Festival’s many events. These new dates, April 7 for Festival Workshops and April 8-10 for Festival, were the only 2021 option available to us.


How long do I have to wait for my refund?

We are making every effort to process payments by the original start date of Festival (April 16, 2020); however, we are dependent on a number of external payment processors which may affect our timeline and prevents us from knowing an exact date. 

I emailed or called days ago and still have not received a response. When will I hear from someone?

We are communicating with registrants in the order in which requests for a refund or other adjustment were received. While we are working very hard to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible, our full-time staff is limited to just two people, and it may be a little while before we are able to respond to you. If you have waited more than one month and have still not received an answer to your question, please contact us at

I received notification of a refund from you, but I don’t see it on my credit/debit card. Why?

Depending on your credit card company, it can take between 2-10 business days for refunds to appear. Initiating a refund is the only step in this process that we can control, so any questions after that initial notification must be directed to your credit card provider. 

I paid by check. How long will it take to receive my refund?

Check payments require a different process. Generally, you will receive payment within two weeks of us submitting the payment request to our Financial Services Office.

I bought an individual event ticket. How do I get a refund?

Please contact the Calvin University Box Office directly to receive your refund. 

My refund amount isn’t correct–whom do I contact?

If transactions were made separately, they will be processed and refunded separately.

If transactions were made in one lump sum payment, they will be refunded in a lump sum.

If you made separate payments for Festival registration and a workshop, for example, those refunds will come through separately; because of the way payment processors work, it is not possible for us to combine separate payments into one lump sum refund.

If you donated money toward Festival Scholarships at the time of registration, this may be the reason your refund amount is lower than your transaction amount (see next question).

If none of these reasons apply to your situation, please contact with your anticipated refund amount and the amount actually received.

Can I get a donation refund?

Your donation amount (most commonly, this was the optional contribution you added on during the registration process) is not refundable but will be transferred to Festival 2021. Because Calvin University has already issued all 2019 and 2020 donation receipts for tax purposes, we are unable to issue refunds for donations.

Is there a deadline for requesting a refund?

If at all possible, we would greatly appreciate receiving your request no later than April 16, 2020. Because of payment processor mechanisms, refunds will become significantly more complicated after this date.

I requested a refund, but now I want to re-register. What do I do?

Due to processing times, you will need to register for Festival 2021 when registration opens in late October 2020.

I registered for Festival 2020 and didn't request a refund–will I need to register again?

If you registered for Festival 2020 and did not request a refund, your registration is automatically transferred to Festival 2021 and you will not need to register again. This information was included in our individual emails to all registered attendees the day that Festival was postponed; you can read a copy of that email in the March 5 update on our Updates page.


Can I still submit my manuscript through Submittable?

Yes. We will be reopening Submittable soon and will put more information here as soon as it’s available. If you submitted a manuscript for 2020 and do not request a refund for your registration, we will be migrating those submissions to the 2021 portal.

Are Festival Scholarships transferred?

Yes. Scholarship recipients for 2020 will retain their scholarships for Festival 2021, and we will not be opening an additional scholarship window unless additional funds become available. To learn more about Festival Scholarships and watch for our next application window, keep an eye on this website.

Are Festival Circles still happening?

As long as Festival Circle Leaders are willing and able to transfer their Festival attendance to 2021, the Circle will meet as planned. We will not know which Leaders are willing to transfer until we are able to confirm with all of them directly; you can expect an update on this by summer of 2020.

What about Workshops?

We are working to retain as much of our 2020 workshop schedule & faculty as possible. We will not know which workshop leaders are available in 2021 until we are able to confirm with all of them directly. Unless you know for certain that you cannot attend Workshop Wednesday on April 7, 2021, we encourage you to leave your payment as-is (it will automatically transfer to 2021) in order to hold your place; we hope to share an updated workshop schedule by summer of 2020, and will provide refunds or alternative options as needed.

Will the speakers be the same?

We are currently working with speakers and their agents to determine whether they are willing and able to speak at Festival 2021, and we will restructure contracts and scheduling as needed. We will share an updated speaker roster as soon as we are able. As you may have seen on social media, a number of speakers have already expressed their intention to be at Festival 2021.

Are you considering new speakers for Festival 2021?

Since we are working to retain as much of our 2020 speaker roster as possible, we are not considering new speakers for 2021. If you would like to nominate a speaker for Festival 2023, the nomination window will be open from September 1 - December 31, 2021. Our nomination period ends January 1, 2022. Learn more & nominate at

Following Festival 2021, when will the next Festival be held?

Festival will remain biennial, so this postponement effectively shifts the Festival of Faith & Writing to odd-numbered years. In other words, following our 30th anniversary celebration on April 7, 2021 and April 8-10, 2021, the next Festival will be held in 2023. We are not able to host a Festival annually or in back-to-back years.


If your question is not answered anywhere in the list above, please contact us, but thank you for understanding that our current response times are significantly longer than usual. We will respond to your message as soon as we are able and in the order it was received.