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Blog

A Recap of the Festival of Faith & Writing 2012

Ian David Philpot

Web Editor Ian David Philpot shares his experience at the Festival of Faith and Writing.

Last weekend I attended Calvin College's Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, MI. This was my second time at the biannual conference. Both times I've attended I've been representing Reliefof which I am the web editor. This means that I spent a good amount of the conference at the Relief table in the exhibitor hall telling people about the journal and meeting people who we have published.

The sessions I saw were incredible! This is in stark contrast to my experience at AWP. Though I only went to four sessions (all on Friday), I couldn't have been happier with them. The first session was called "The Word Needs Flesh: Sex and Faith in Contemporary Writing" with John Estes and Amy Frykholm (a Relief published author). The second session was "From Page to the Screen: Adapting Novels and Short Stories for Film" with Scott Teems. The third was an interview of one of my favorite authors: Craig Thompson. The fourth and final session was Craig going through his graphic novel writing process. I ended the day at Calvin's art gallery where some of Craig's drawings were on display.

Here are some of the snippets that I took away from the sessions:

  • "We're uncomfortable with our needs and our wants because they're selfish and we don't want to be perceived as selfish." —John Estes
  • "The church can't make you holy any more a school can make you smart." —John Estes on self motivation
  • "If you don't really look at pleasure, you can't have discipline over it." —Amy Frykholm
  • "Our job as adapters is to attempt and theme—attempt to portray the author's intentions and sort out the themes to display to keep the audience interested." —Scott Teems
  • "Once you've done something autobiographical, you've burned all your bridges and you're free to do whatever you want." —Craig Thompson on the creative freedom that opened up after writing Blankets
  • "Because of the paper canvas, comics feel like a letter from the author." —Craig Thompson

I also had the opportunity to meet some new people who were very kind, entertaining, and nice from Antler, Rock & Sling (here's a picture a the awesome banner over their table), Word Farm, and many more. I also had a great time meeting some of the Relief staff I hadn't met before, like Jake Slaughter, Lyle Enright, Andy Koenig, and Tania Runyan. Our evening shenanigans were the best I've ever had at a conference, and I was sad that they had to come to an end. Great people.


This blog post originally appeared on Ian's blog. Ian writes fiction, poetry, and music. He prefers tea to coffee, Coca Cola to Pepsi, and only eats yellow cake.