A strong community can help enrich personal growth. Communities that have similar passions and interests will have an even greater impact.
The Indiana Faith and Writing Conference (IFWC) is an event that allows Christian writers to experience that community and personal growth. This is the first year that the Anderson University Department of English will host the conference.
The IFWC, formerly known as the Indianapolis Christian Writers Conference, is an annual gathering for Christian writers. Attendees have the opportunity to attend workshops, pitch ideas to publishers, and network with other Christian writers.
The conference has been held for over a decade to help foster unity in the Christian writing community. When Heather Gemmen Wilson, an English adjunct professor, found out that the conference would no longer have a host, she had the vision to bring the event, formerly hosted by Wesleyan Publishing House, to AU.
“We are building on the foundation of what the conference was at Wesleyan Publishing House,” said Wilson. “We are really wanting to expand and bring more of a literary focus to the event. It was previously really focused on publishing, and we are planning on continuing that tradition. However, we also want to work to help people excel with their literary and academic endeavors.”
Jonelle Frazier, a sophomore English and public relations double major, is the student assistant director of the conference. Frazier said she is excited to see the connections built between student attendees and publishers at the conference.
“There are some incredibly talented students on campus, and this conference will be a great networking opportunity for them,” said Frazier.
The theme of the 2014 conference is “Writing Wrongs, Uniting Our World With Words.”
“The focus is to build a community of individuals that have an interest in the intersection of faith and writing,” said Dr. Elizabeth Imafuji, assistant professor of English. “Attendees have the opportunity to listen to keynote speakers who are well-known authors, the ability to pitch their work to agents and editors, and attend writing workshops and other sessions on the writing craft.”
Keynote speakers for the conference include Ken Abraham, a New York Times best-selling author; Philip Gulley, author of the “Harmony” series; and Lisa Sharon Harper, published author and the senior director of mobilizing for Sojourners’ magazine.
“We have a very diverse group of speakers,” said Wilson. “I think they will push us to go beyond our own writing and think about how we can make an impact on the world.”
In addition to the speakers, workshops, networking and pitching opportunities, attendees also have the chance to enter a writing contest. Categories available for contest submissions include fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Winners in each category will receive a cash prize of $50. The overall winner will be awarded $150 and free admission to the next conference.
The AU English department is looking forward to the event.
“We get to be surrounded by other literary Christians who are interested in honing their writing craft, and our conference speakers will be inspiring and encouraging,” said Imafuji. “I think everyone will leave the conference buzzing with the desire to write.”
The IFWC begins on Oct. 31, and continues through Nov. 1. Registration is now open, and individuals of all ages and all writing levels are welcome. For more information, visit the conference website at http://faithandwriting.com.
— Allison Boyle is a junior from Sykesville, Md., majoring in communication arts and minoring in marketing. Boyle is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.