Professor Hettinga graduated from Calvin College with a bachelor of arts in English in 1976. He then attended the University of Chicago, receving a master of arts in English in 1977 and a PhD in English with a speciality in American literature of the Early Republic in 1983. He wrote his dissertation on the figure of the simple farmer in late 18th- and early 19th-century American literature. His journalistic experience comes from extracurricular work and freelancing for the Chicago Reader and the Grand Rapids Press.
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Redbird by Mary Oliver
- The Branch Will Not Break by James Wright
- In-line skating
- Trap shooting
A Great Cloud of Witnesses: The Fiction of Madeleine L'Engle, in Minds in the Making
Potter Finale Lives Up to Hype, in Minds in the Making, originally in The Grand Rapids Press
New Potter is Worth the Wait, in Minds in the Making, originally in The Grand Rapids Press
Professor Hettinga is the advisor for the journalism minor at Calvin. He also sits on the steering committee for both the Festival of Faith and Writing and the Youth Writing Festival. At the 2008 Festival of Faith and Writing, Professor Hettinga conducted an interview with author Michael Chabon. Having written extensively about the Brothers Grimm in the past, Professor Hettinga is publishing a chapter, "The Brothers Grimm," in Lives of the Classic Storytellers (Ed. Sophie Raynard-Leroy), forthcoming from SUNY Press. He is also working on a project of historical fiction. Professor Hettinga regularly publishes reviews of books in the Grand Rapids Press.
- Madeleine L'Engle
- Children's and young adult literature
- Eighteenth-century American life and letters
- Folktales and twentieth-century book illustration and design
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