The Emmaus Readers: Listening for God in Contemporary Fiction

When an eclectic group of nine friends—fiction-readers and professors at Calvin College in Michigan—came together weekly to wrestle with great contemporary novels, they were surprised to discover how much spiritual meat they found. Together, the self-described Emmaus Readers read P.D. James, Ron Hansen, Ian McEwan, Yann Martel, Oscar Hijuelos, Frederick Buechner, and several others, across a variety of genres: historical fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, science fiction, and mystery.

The Emmaus Readers includes experts from the English, Spanish, French, Sociology and Library Science departments at Calvin College. Editors Susan M. Felch and Gary D. Schmidt and are both professors of English. Schmidt is the author of critical books such as A Passionate Usefulness: The Life and Literary Labors of Hannah Adams, and novels for middle grade readers such as Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, a Newbery Honor Book. Felch has written on sixteenth-century women authors including Elizabeth I and Anne Lock, and is co-editor, with Schmidt, of a series of “spiritual biographies” of the seasons of the year. They both live near Grand Rapids, MI.

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