Tags: Academic Writing; Cultural Criticism

James K. A. Smith

Criticism, Theology

James K. A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin University and serves as editor in chief of Image journal, a quarterly devoted to “art, mystery, and faith.” Trained as a philosopher with a focus on contemporary French thought, Smith has expanded on that scholarly platform to become an engaged public intellectual and cultural critic.

He is the award-winning author of a number of influential books including Desiring the Kingdom (2009), How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (2014), You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (2016), On the Road with Saint Augustine (2019) and, most recently, How to Inhabit Time: Understanding the Past, Facing the Future, Living Faithfully Now (2022). He is currently at work on a book about contemplative spirituality and contemporary art.

His essays and criticism have appeared in magazines that include the Christian Century, Christianity Today, America, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, LitHub, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His writing has also been featured in outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Jamie and his wife, Deanna, are empty-nesters who live in the Heritage Hill neighborhood of Grand Rapids where they tend sprawling flower gardens and an ever-increasing number of bird-feeders. 

Festival Years: 2016, 2018, 2024