The sixth annual, Search for Meaning Book Festival took place on
Saturday, February 15th with over 2,000 individuals coming to the university
campus from various corners of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Earlier this year, Seattle University’s President Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J. announced that the festival had officially become a Seattle University signature event. Originally created by the university’s School of Theology and Ministry in 2009, the Search for Meaning Book Festival has quickly become one of the most highly regarded events of its kind, with the festival attracting an ever-growing and enthusiastic following. This year was no different. Pulitzer-prize winning journalists and authors Katherine Boo and Isabel
Wilkerson were the day’s keynote speakers, with well over 45 authors present
for general sessions throughout the day.Boo and Wilkerson were both raised and formed in churches and have built
journalistic careers telling the stories of those who live on the margins of
society. Boo has done so after two years
of research in the way hope is manifested in one of the worst slums on the
planet, a community in Mumbai, India.
Wilkerson spent ten years tracking the largest internal migration in
U.S., the movement of more than 6 million African-Americans from southern
states to Northern and Western cities, changing the United States in the
process. Both women received standing ovations.
General sessions were at times overflowing as attendees engaged other diverse themes of the day. Topics ranged from “mindful” writing to learning the spiritual lessons from the life and music of Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the popular music group, Nirvana; from the dynamics of politics, religion and rights in a modern Islamic republic to a Spanish-language session on Christian ministry to the poor; from adapting Buddhist mediation practices to Christian spirituality to the spiritual insights coming from a lifelong devotion to Christian-Hindu dialogue; and many other topics. Session formats varied throughout the day, with a multi-cast play taking
place within the first session block to two workshops occurring throughout the
day. An interactive experience of the day was a walk or pilgrimage across the
campus’ many sacred spaces, with accompanying prayers and reflections available
Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry hosted a Friday
night dinner before the festival, hosted by Mark Massa, S.J., and other VIP
events throughout the day included a special lunch with Katherine Boo, a dinner
with Isabel Wilkerson and an alumni breakfast with Seattle University’s
African-American Alumni Chapter.
About the FestivalThe Search for Meaning Book Festival has evolved into a
signature Seattle University event. Launched in 2009, the festival features a veritable
who's who of the literary and scholarly worlds, with over 40 best-selling
authors of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and more. The annual one-day festival
offers general sessions, keynote presentations, book signings, and interactive
experiences. Individuals from all walks of life spend a day with some of the
world's most influential authors and scholars while reflecting on their own
ability to contribute to a more just and humane world. Learn more at
Seattle University: The University Behind the FestivalSeattle University is situated in Seattle's urban hub, while
on the edge of the most diversely populated zip code in the nation. The Search
for Meaning Book Festival uniquely embodies Seattle University's core values of
lived spirituality, justice, and diversity. With over 7,400 students enrolled
in undergraduate and graduate programs within eight schools and colleges, the
university ranks #6 among 121 regional universities in the West. Seattle
University is dedicated to educating the whole person, to professional
formation, and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world. Learn more at
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