Festival of Faith & Writing


December 1, 2020

We have issued all refunds, both to individual attendees and to exhibitors & advertisers. If you have not received your check by December 9, 2020, please contact us.

We continue to work with speakers and agents to retain as much of the Festival schedule as possible for March 2022, and we hope to have news on this front soon. Until then, we encourage you to visit the FAQ page for further questions, experience past Festival sessions and other media through the CCFW Digital Studio, and use our Reading List to find your next great read.

November 2, 2020

The following email was sent to all registered Festivalgoers on Monday, November 2, 2020:

Dear Readers,

What a season we are living in. We hope that you are doing as well as possible, and we wanted to reach out to you about plans for the Festival of Faith & Writing.

As you know, we were forced to postpone Festival 2020 because of COVID-19 and had planned on a 2021 gathering. Unfortunately, as we look ahead to spring 2021, and after exploring many safety measures and alternatives, a 2021 Festival will not be possible. Calvin University plans to continue to practice socially distanced classes, so every available space on campus—including all the large gathering spaces required for our 2000+ person Festival—will need to be available as classrooms. Calvin has also had a reduction in staff, which includes staff who hugely supported our small team in campus logistics. Finally, with some international borders still closed and travel fraught or restricted for many, an in-person gathering this spring does not seem feasible for many of our speakers, exhibitors, and attendees.

Our current plans, then, are as follows:

  • We are moving forward with a 2022 Festival in place of 2021, occurring March 24-26, 2022.
  • In summer of 2021, we will meet with University officials and health experts to assess the viability of our spring 2022 in-person gathering; we will then communicate next steps, including any necessary changes or adaptations. (In the interest of extreme caution & preparation, we have reserved backup dates in 2023 and will share any alternate plans as needed come fall 2021.)
  • We are issuing refunds to all Festival registrants; if you know that any contact information we have on file for you is incorrect, we ask that you fill out this form. The sooner you complete it, the sooner we are able to mail you a check refund (we are only able to issue check refunds at this time).
  • While it is certainly not expected, you are invited to convert your registration payment to a donation toward Festival scholarships, the CCFW, or the Digital Studio; if you would like to do so, please fill out this form by November 9, 2020 and you will receive a receipt for tax purposes directly from Calvin University. (And thank you for considering this option!)
  • Registration for Festival 2022 will open in Fall 2021; for more information about this and many other questions, please visit the Festival 2022 FAQ page on our website.

We know this news is disappointing, and we have explored every avenue available to us (including virtual possibilities) before arriving at these new 2022 dates. It is our hope, though, that our next gathering will be the in-person, relational event that Festival is intended to be. 

In the interim, we encourage you to visit our website at CCFW.calvin.edu for free access to past Festival sessions, literary films, a reading list, and a number of other options for you to experience the thoughtfulness of Festival’s writers & readers until we gather again.

Thank you for working with us through the challenges of this year.

The CCFW Team

April 27, 2020

To-date, we have issued refunds to everyone who has requested one, and we were indeed able to complete these by the original start date of Festival. We continue to work with speakers and agents to retain as much of the Festival schedule as possible for April 2021, and we hope to have news on this front later this summer.

Until then, we encourage you to visit the FAQ page for further questions, experience past Festival sessions and other media through the CCFW Digital Studio, and watch our free, short(ish) documentary, Katherine Paterson: Written Together.

March 30, 2020

We have begun to initiate refunds and will continue to do so over the coming weeks! We will be processing as many refunds as possible each day, and in the order of requests received. Depending on your card issuer, the refund can take anywhere from 2-10 business days to show up on your end. We have no control over this timeline, so any questions will need to be directed to the bank who issued your card.

The pace at which we are issuing refunds continues to be set by our external payment processors, and unfortunately this means that we are able to process only a limited number of refunds per processing round. These constraints may continue to cause delays throughout the refund process, but we will still work toward initiating all refunds by the original start date of Festival (April 16, 2020).

March 19, 2020

We are responding individually to each person who has emailed us requesting a refund. We continue to be in daily conversation with our external payment processors in an effort to issue refunds as soon as possible; this process has been very slow, and has included new challenges now that all faculty and staff at Calvin University are operating remotely through the end of the spring semester (University updates are viewable here).

You have been gracious in your responses, and we appreciate your understanding. We will post any new developments here as soon as we are able.

March 10, 2020

We are in the process of initiating refunds and are making every effort to process payments by the original start date of Festival (April 16, 2020); however, we are dependent on external payment processors which is affecting our timeline and preventing us from knowing an exact date.

Since this is an unprecedented situation for Festival and a number of financial institutions are involved in the refund process, please know that we are working as hard as possible to refund you as quickly as possible, and we greatly appreciate your patience. 

Finally, we've heard from some registrants that they did not receive a personal email about the postponement. We did send every registrant an individual email (with the same text as the March 5 update below) but have no control over how it was handled by your email provider, whether that was filtering it out of your inbox completely, placing it in a spam folder, or otherwise rejecting it.

Please find more information about these and other questions on our FAQ.

March 5, 2020

Festival 2020 Postponement

Dear readers, writers, and Festival registrants,

Our aspiration with each Festival of Faith & Writing is to host a gathering that is welcoming, safe, and enjoyable for everyone involved. It is with this goal in mind that we’re writing with the unfortunate news that the 30th anniversary Festival of Faith & Writing will be postponed until April of 2021. Workshop Wednesday will be held on April 7, 2021, and the Festival will run from April 8-10, 2021.

The reasons for this decision are:

  • The vast majority of our attendees and speakers are not local, and they must travel from across the country (45+ states) and internationally (12+ countries) to get here. It is important to us to give as much advance notice as possible for changes to travel plans.
  • As you’ve likely seen in the news, Festival is just one of many conferences and events that is being affected by COVID-19. Like so many of those other events, we have been receiving cancellations from attendees, exhibitors, and speakers. Some of these cancellations are the result of business travel restrictions outside the participants’ control, while others are the result of health concerns. In addition, many speakers and exhibitors who are still able to travel without restrictions are now required to limit their interactions with attendees (e.g., canceling all book signings and face-to-face meetings).
  • We are mindful of inclusive & accessible safety for all attendees, speakers, and staffincluding those groups that are known to be the most vulnerable to COVID-19. We also recognize that many attendees, speakers, staff, and exhibitors may not fall into these at-risk groups, but they may come into frequent contact with those who do. 
  • We do not have the resources or staffing to be able to livestream or otherwise broadcast the Festival remotely.

It is important to note that no one at Calvin University or in the state of Michigan has currently tested positive for COVID-19. We act out of an abundance of caution, especially given the complex and unpredictable nature of preventing infection, and we want to underscore the recommendations of many healthcare professionals to prepare for the coronavirus and stay informed but to do so calmly. Calvin University also continues to plan and prepare according to the CDC’s recommendations for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE). Updates for the Calvin campus are viewable here, and general information is viewable on the CDC and WHO websites.

For registered attendees & exhibitors: your registration, fees, and scholarships will automatically be transferred, allowing you to attend Festival in 2021; we will, however, provide a full refund to anyone who would like to receive one. Please contact ffw@calvin.edu with this request, and know that we appreciate your patience as we work to respond to everyone over the coming weeks. We have a great deal of communication & logistics to undertake as we work to reschedule, rework, and rearrange the many elements that make up the Festival of Faith & Writing. While we do anticipate that the roster of speakers may shift somewhat, we are hopeful that many speakers may be able to move their dates of appearance to Festival 2021.

After two years of planning, we are so disappointed to be postponing. This is not what any of us thought April would bring, and certainly not what any of us wanted. We know you join us in our disappointment, but we are hopeful that the celebration in 2021 will be worth the wait.

March 2, 2020

The safety of Festival attendees & other participants is our priority as we monitor COVID-19 in the lead-up to Festival 2020 this April. Currently, no one has tested positive for COVID-19 in the state of Michigan. At this time, we do plan to host Festival Workshops (April 15) and the Festival itself (April 16-18) on the campus of Calvin University as planned; if that changes, we will post updates on this webpage. Please consult the following resources for the most recent updates about Coronavirus globally, nationally, and locally:

Rolling updates on Coronavirus from WHO
Virus information from the CDC
Status of Coronavirus in Michigan & Kent County
Calvin University's Coronavirus Information Page

Calvin University continues to plan and prepare according to the CDC’s recommendations for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE). If you have individual concerns, please contact us at ffw@calvin.edu. Thank you for your patience as our limited staff manages communication during our final event planning stages & continues to monitor the virus.