Jennifer L. Holberg

Jennifer L. Holberg


Professor Holberg was granted a BA in English and history from New Mexico State University in 1990; she graduated with the highest honors as the university's valedictorian. She went from there to the University of Washington, where she completed her MA and PhD in English in 1991 and 1997, respectively. She joined the English department faculty at Calvin in 1998.


Jennifer Holberg grew up as a "military brat," moving nine times before her high school graduation. Calvin's first woman “Professor of the Year," she is passionate about teaching, both in her classroom and in her scholarship as the founding co-editor of the Duke University Press journal, Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020. Holberg has served on numerous departmental, campus, and disciplinary committees, including serving as Associate Director of the Honors Program, Head Teaching Fellow, faculty leader of the Faculty Senate for six years, and as the long-serving chair of the all-university Educational Policy Committee. An enthusiastic advocate of public scholarship, she teaches CALL (Calvin Academy of Lifelong Learning) each semester and frequently speaks to churches and other community groups. Best of all: she takes students to Florence every other year for interim!

With Professor Jane Zwart, Professor Holberg co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith and Writing, the home of not just the biennial Festival of Faith and Writing but a host of other initiatives. Her deep interest in the intersections of faith and literature shows up in her biweekly contributions to the Reformed Journal blog (since 2012), which examines contemporary issues through a Reformed Christian lens. Her book publications also explore this territory: her first book, Shouts and Whispers: 21 Writers Speak About Their Writing and Their Faith, published by Eerdmans in 2006, received a coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Her new book, Nourishing Narratives: The Power of Story to Shape Our Faith, is being published by InterVarsity Press on July 25, 2023.

Favorite Books

  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield
  • The short stories and essays of Flannery O’Connor
  • The work of Marilynne Robinson
  • Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • The poetry of Christian Wiman, Jane Kenyon, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson

Additional Information: 

Academic interests

  • the power of story to shape faith/the intersections of faith and literature
  • 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century British literature
  • the scholarship of teaching
  • the "middlebrow" woman novelist (currently working on a book-length study of the writer E.M. Delafield)


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