Festival of Faith and Writing postponed due to coronavirus


Photo courtesy of the facebook page for the Calvin Center for Faith and Writing

Photo of Kwame Alexander, author and speaker at the 2018 Festival of Faith & Writing

The 2020 Festival of Faith and Writing (FFW) has been postponed to April 8-10, 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. This would have been the 30th anniversary of the FFW.

In the announcement on March 5, the FFW website read, “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.”

At the beginning of the month, some major publishers began imposing travel restrictions for authors and employees, and authors requested that the festival not have book signings among other restrictions. The FFW began fielding cancellations and concerns from attendees over the virus.

According to FFW organizers and Calvin English professors Jane Zwart and Jennifer Holberg, the annual festival brings in over 2,000 attendees, as well as many exhibitors and speakers. 

“We always want to have the safest and most inclusive gathering, so all those factors made us know that a postponement was the right decision for everyone involved,” Holberg and Zwart said in an email. “We’re definitely heartbroken about having to postpone, but we have a lot of peace about it.”

Last year, attendees came from 45 American states and 12 countries, some of which are high risk for the coronavirus.

Currently, the FFW staff is working on refunding the tickets, but they are hopeful that many of the same attendees and speakers from this year will be able to return for next year’s event. Because the event is held every other year, they did not have to cancel the next conference’s line up in order to move this year.

The FFW staff worked with the Calvin COVID-19 response team in making the decision and studied guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Most of the response has been positive, albeit disappointed, according to Holberg and Zwart. 

Those interested in more information can go to CCFW.calvin.edu/Festival/Updates.