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    Crosscut Tout: Spirituality Book Festival draws Tariq Ramadan, Anne Lamott

    This year, one of the region's largest annual book festivals at Seattle U. features a lineup of more than 40 writers well worth reading and meeting.

    Tariq Ramadan

    Tariq Ramadan Pacific Northwest Spirituality Book Festival

    Anne Lamott

    Anne Lamott Pacific Northwest Spirituality Book Festival

    The "Search for Meaning: Pacific Northwest Spirituality Book Festival" will be held Saturday (Feb. 5) on the Seattle University campus. It's a chance to meet renowned authors, browse their books, hear them read, and talk about their work with fellow attendees interested in the question of what makes life meaningful.

    According to School of Theology and Ministry Dean Mark Markuly, "The event furthers the school's recognized role in hosting respectful conversations on the issues of values and spirituality, topics that are critically important but difficult to discuss in current American culture and often absent from public settings."

    The wide range of subjects addressed will include relations between Islam and other world religions, the values that shape environmental policy, and the place of faith in public life. Keynote presenters:

    Tariq Ramadan, Oxford professor of Islamic studies and author of Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation and In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad. Ramadan was banned by the Bush Administration until last year; this will be his first public appearance on the West Coast.

    Anne Lamott, author of six novels and four nonfiction books including Bird by Bird. Lamott, her publicists say, "writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus."

    Other writers of note include former Seattle Times reporter Bruce Brown (Mountain in the Clouds, The History of the Corporation, Dr. Whacko's Guide to Slow-Pitch Softball); novelist and nature writer Brenda Peterson (Duck and Cover — a New York Times Notable Book of the Year); Dori Jones Yang, a foreign correspondent in Hong Kong for eight years and a novelist (Daughter of Xanadu); and G. Willow Wilson, an American Muslim author, essayist, and graphic novelist whose articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine and Atlantic Monthly.

    Here are dozens of festival author bios. The event is sponsored by SU’s School of Theology and Ministry, SU Bookstore, and Elliott Bay Book Company.

    If you go: “Search for Meaning: Pacific Northwest Spirituality Book Festival,” Saturday Feb. 5, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. To RSVP (recommended but not required) contact the School of Theology and Ministry, stm@seattleu.edu or (206) 296-5330.

    As part of Crosscut’s coverage of social concerns, Judy Lightfoot writes about how the region's people face challenges in a time of economic stress and diminished expectations. She often draws on her weekly one-on-one coffees with individuals sharing our public spaces who are socially isolated by homelessness or mental illness. Formerly a teacher and professor, she also writes about books, education, and the arts. Email judy.lightfoot@crosscut.com.

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