Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Search For Meaning Book Festival 2015

    What does it mean to be human? Why are we here? What do we do with our time here?

    While these questions may be unanswerable, the Search for Meaning Book Festival this Saturday might bring attendees closer to figuring them out.

    Over 55 authors will present at this event hosted by the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, and will include poetry and fiction and non-fiction writers. Though the subjects of their writing vary, the presenters are all linked by a common goal: to explore modern topics with theological and philosophical themes.

    Search for Meaning was created seven years ago as a way for people of all faiths—whether they identify as religious or not—to come together and consider our biggest existential questions.

    “You don’t have to have any theological background, and a lot of people who come don’t,” said Mark Markuly, dean of the School of Theology and Ministry. “This is really approaching theology and philosophy as an applied art, as it’s being expressed in the imaginative work of highly creative people.”

    You also don’t have to be an avid reader to enjoy this event. Though many of the authors will allude to recently published works in their presentations, Admissions Coordinator for the School of Theology and Ministry Colette Casavant said it isn’t necessary to have read anything to take something away from the talks.

    “The authors are each there for 45 minutes, and you get 45 minutes of their passion,” Casavant said. “You don’t have to read their book to feel that passion and listen to their ideas.”

    Casavant will host a workshop at the festival alongside Premajor Studies and Student Academic Persistence Director Joelle Pretty called “Questioning for Purpose.” The workshop is meant to help people through shifts in their lives, whether that be a changing career path or a move to a new town. This will be their third year presenting at Search for Meaning. Both said that their favorite thing about the festival is the energy it brings to the Seattle U campus.

    “This [festival] is such a rare opportunity to rub elbows with a wide variety of people, some of whom are famous and published,” Pretty said.
    Tickets for the festival are available online for $10, and students can register for a free pass. Anyone from the Seattle community is invited to attend.

    “Everybody has a philosophy of life, whether they identify it or not,” Markuly said. “This is really about our common humanity, and how we understand what it means to be a human being living at this moment in history.”

    The Search for Meaning Book Festival is this Saturday, Feb. 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on campus. Check out the next page to find out more about a few of the featured authors to get excited about this year.

    Krista Tippett
    In her public radio show and podcast “On Being,”—originally called “Speaking of Faith” when it began in 2003—Krista Tippett attempts to answer the biggest questions at the center of life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? Guests for her show have included a poet, a Congressman, a Vietnamese Zen master and a Black Power feminist—and that’s just in 2015.

    Tippett, a journalist and former diplomat, will be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s Search for Meaning festival, and she’ll talk about how communities of faith offer important wisdom relevant to the 21st century.

    Rebecca Brown
    Rebecca Brown has done a lot of things. She’s a writer, artist, lecturer, curator, journalist and performer.

    She’s written 12 books, ranging from the subject of being present with the dying to intersections of indie pop culture and the search for the divine. She’s read and lectured in Berlin, London, Tokyo, Seattle, Portland, Austin, New York, San Francisco and elsewhere. Currently she is the Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington Bothell, and for nearly 20 years has been a faculty member at the Master of Fine Arts program at Goddard College in Vermont.

    Brown is currently working on a book of stories and a book of short monologues and poems. Her presentation will be a reading of recent work.

    Paul Vallely
    The festival’s second keynote speaker this year is Paul Vallely, a writer, broadcaster, lecturer and consultant on media and business ethics. His talk will focus on his recently published book “Pope Francis: Untying the Knots,” a biography of the new pope who has captured the attention of the world with his open mind and bold comments supporting peace and justice. He’s also the only pope to have graced the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.

    Vallely traveled to Argentina to interview people who have known the pope most of his life, and in doing so uncovered a complex story of a man who had gone through major transitions in life before reaching the top position in the Catholic Church.

    Rosette Royale
    Seattle-based journalist, speaker and storyteller Rosette Royale is the interim editor of Real Change, a weekly paper sold by people who are homeless or low-wage earners.

    Royale has won numerous awards for his feature stories, such as a three-part series called “The Man who Stood on the Bridge,” about a sex offender with mental illness who attempted suicide on the Aurora Bridge, and the four-part series “Gravity of Abuse,” about an abusive relationship between a homeless mother and her partner. Real Change publishes stories normally considered “untouchable” in newspaper writing—and in his presentation, Royale will discuss the importance of writing these stories.

    David Levy
    Though there are many benefits of living in a largely digital age, there are also downfalls. Information technologist David Levy will talk about how cutting edge digital tools have led to distraction, information overload and the acceleration of life.

    Levy will draw from his previous book “Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents of the Digital Age” and his forthcoming book “Mindful Tech” to explain a few methods he has been developing to help students and adults develop healthier relationships with their modern digital tools.

    Levy currently works as a professor at the University of Washington Information School.

    Alex Tizon
    Everyone feels like an outsider at one time or another. In his book, “Big Little Man: In Search Of My Asian Self,” Alex Tizon tells of how he had grown up believing that his race had set him apart, only to realize later on that the real cause was more universal.

    Tizon is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, formerly Seattle bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times and a former longtime staff writer for the Seattle Times. He has covered the 9/11 attacks, the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, as well as two presidential campaigns. During his presentation, Tizon will share stories from his book and explain the journey he had out
    of “outsiderdom.”

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