RUNNING  through to Saturday 5th November 2022, the Books and Belief festival, sponsored and organised by New College, Edinburgh, features an array of speakers and writers from the UK and beyond, exploring the fascinating relationship between literature and all aspects of belief.

This year’s festival explores the influence the religions of the world, plus humanism and secularism, have had on the books we read, and why prominent thinkers and writers have engaged with diverse beliefs so creatively. Writers of historical fiction, biography, poetry, drama and much more offer their insights and read from their works. Contributors include Rowan Williams, SJ Parris, Leila Aboulela, NT Wright and James Robertson.

The title ‘Books and Belief’ comes from a desire to explore personal belief systems and faith rather than simply talking about religions more generally. Speakers will talk about loss of faith and challenges to faith, renegotiation of their belief systems, generational divides and different ways they connect with the secular and spiritual worlds.

The aim is to explore ‘religion’ not just as a system of theology and rituals but as something permeating all layers of our society and life, whether we have faith in any spiritual belief system or not. Literature, and arts more broadly, have been important expressions of that, and have contributed to New College’s Masters Programme in Religion and Literature.

* Full information about the Festival can be found here

Ekklesia director Simon Barrow sits on the external advisory group for the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at New College, Edinburgh.