College to host Lutheran Festival of Writing Oct. 29-31

July 21, 2010

Creative writers will gather, present readings of their work and lead discussions about writing and the writer's life at "The Vibrant Word: A Lutheran Festival of Writing," Oct. 29-31 at Luther College.

The event celebrates the literary work done by practicing Lutherans, Lutheran writers teaching in non-Lutheran colleges, writers at ELCA colleges and a range of editors and publishers. Through readings, lectures, panel discussions and an open-mike event, the three-day festival aims to support and encourage writers and to cultivate a community of writers and readers in the Lutheran world.

"The Vibrant Word" is the second triennial festival. The first festival was held at Luther College in 2007.

Festival registration is open now until Friday, Oct. 22. Registration fee is $95, with $25 additional for the Saturday evening banquet. Luther community members receive discount prices.

For complete prices and registration information visit

This year's festival keynote speakers are Robert Cording and Rene Steinke. Cording is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants in poetry, and Steinke's novel "Holy Skirts" was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Keynote events will be open to the public without registration.

Fiction writers new to the festival in 2010 include Mark Mustian, David Oppegaard, Pamela Johnston and Thomas Maltman.

Poets participating in the conference for the first time include John Graber, Barbara Crooker, Cass Dalglish, Philip Bryant, Diane LeBlanc, Vince Wixon, Susanna Childress, Katy Giebenhain, Joe Wilkins, Cary Waterman and Steven Schroeder.

Other writers reading their work include creative nonfiction writer David Faldet and returning drama and fiction writers Nancy Barry and Walter Wangerin.

Other presenters returning from the 2007 Lutheran Festival of Writing include creative writers Lauri Anderson, Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Gary Fincke, Carol Gilbertson, Gracia Grindal, Patrick Hicks, Robert Schultz, Paul Shepherd and Amy Weldon.

The Rev. Norene Smith, co-pastor of Bay Shore Lutheran Church, Whitefish Bay, Wis. will preach at the Reformation Day service Sunday morning. Smith was campus pastor at Luther College from 1991-97.

The festival's panel discussions will include "Art, Idea, and Belief," "The Past as a Foreign Country," "Networking for Readers and Writers," "A Sense of Place" and "Thoughts on Editing and Publishing."

The 2007 conference brought more than 250 people from 21 different states and three countries to the Luther College campus.

Carol Gilbertson, professor of English and director of the festival, said "This will be an amazing event. At the last festival, there was such talent and energy, such generosity and good will among the presenters and attendees, and the fest promises to be just as vibrant.

"These are all fine writers who seek to write poems and stories—novels and memoirs—that give shape and meaning to our lives. Each of us needs good stories and good words in our lives," Gilbertson said.

The Lutheran Festival of Writing is sponsored by the Luther College Lutheran Festival of Writing Endowment and hosted by the Luther College Department of English. For more information about the Lutheran Festival of Writing visit


Rene Steinke
Robert Cording