Event Recap: Search for Meaning Book Festival 2015

Written by Kristina Alvarado
March 19, 2015

Seattle University's seventh annual Search for Meaning Book Festival was held on Saturday, February 28th to the delight of book enthusiasts across the nation's Pacific Northwest. ?Over 1000 participants came out on the crisp sunny day to listen to over 55 authors speak on issues of spirituality, social justice, and the human search for meaning. ?

With some authors coming all the way from the United Kingdom, the event brought in international and local speakers from the gamut of backgrounds and genres. ?While some authors spoke about social justice issues such as homelessness and poverty, others explored how ?faith, spirituality and historical events have and continue to change our world. ?Our two main keynotes, Krista Tippett and Paul Vallely spoke to sold out audiences, while many of our general session authors, such as Geri Marr Burdman and Mary Doria Russell had rooms overflowing with festival guests. ??

Award-winning journalist Paul Vallely was the day's first keynote, speaking on his internationally best-selling book ?Pope Francis-Untying the Knots??the first journalistic biography of Pope Francis. ?Gathering information from those closest to Jorge Mario Bergoglio back in Argentina, Vallely painted a picture of the pope that many of us had yet to see. ?Audience members left amazed knowing a bit more about the kind of Pope that Francis has become.?

The day's second keynote was award-winning journalist Krista Tippett, as the main creator, host and producer of National Public Radio?s show and podcast ?On Being." ?Her talk focused on the need for healthy conversations concerning what it means to be human and how we are meant to live in the world. ?So often, our differences make us become more divided, unable to listen to one another or engage with one another. ?She urged participants to begin to create the conversations we want to hear, and encouraged communities of faith to continue bringing important wisdom to our 21st century concerns. ?

Along with the keynote speakers, general session authors and presenters brought new ideas and their own experiences in the human search for meaning. ?Topics ranged from the forgotten story of a medieval women?s movement to food, faith and growing heaven on hearth; to why God and Allah need to talk to Jewish survival in Nazi-Occupied Italy; from the healing properties of art and photography documenting the Minidoka War Relocation Center; to locating a musical middle ground between Indians and Priests in the Columbia Plateau, and many other topics.??

Sessions varied in style and format throughout the day. ?Our morning session included members from the compline choir at St. Mark Cathedral performing Gregorian chant, while later sessions had a workshop on career and life change discernment, and a panel of five different authors talking about their experiences of grief and loss. ?

Seattle University?s School of Theology and Ministry hosted a Friday night dinner before the festival with all of the priests of the Archdiocese meeting with Fr. Timothy Radcliff, OP, as well as special events such as a VIP lunch with Paul Vallely, and dinner with Krista Tippett.

Save the date for the 2016 Festival taking place on Saturday, February 27, 2016!

Learn more about the Search for Meaning Book Festival, here.