Dr. Susanna Childress

DuMez Associate Professor of English
Profile photo of Dr. Susanna Childress

Susanna Childress has taught at Hope College since 2006, except for two years away as a Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow at Valparaiso University. Since 2014, she has been the advisor of Opus, the campus literary magazine, and in 2017, she became the director of the Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series. She teaches writing of many kinds — fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, mixed genres and composition — as well as courses exploring the intersection of faith and art and the role of art in our lives and our communities. 

areas of expertise

Dr. Childress is the author of two prize-winning collections of poetry and has also published several short stories and creative nonfiction essays. She specializes in literary writing across genres, specifically modern and contemporary poetry, the short story and linked story collections, lyric essays, podcast writing, mixed-genre work and nature/environmental writing. She has served as an editor for publications ranging from the literary journal 32 Poems to the Reformed Church of America’s magazine Perspectives. In 2017 she co-edited Awst Press’s Creative Nonfiction Anniversary Series.

Her research interests include women writers, the role of writing in social justice and activism, and contemporary Native American literature.


  • Ph.D., poetry and women’s writing, Florida State University, 2007
  • M.A., poetry, University of Texas at Austin, 2003
  • B.A., literature and writing (double major), Indiana Wesleyan University, 2001

honors, fellowship and awards 

  • Trifecta Award, Iron Horse Literary Journal, 2019
  • Mellon Scholars’ Excellence in Mentoring Award, 2017
  • Nature in Words Fellowship Mentor, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, 2015 (fiction) and 2016 (creative nonfiction)
  • Inclusion in Best American Poetry, 2015
  • Society of Midland Authors Award for Best Book of Poetry, 2012
  • Lilly Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2008–2010
  • Poetry Contest Winner, Fugue & Grove City Review, 2008
  • Kingsbury Fellowship & Deans Award (reading with Stephen King), Florida State University, 2007
  • Brittingham Prize in Poetry, 2005

selected publications 

Essays and Short Stories

  • “Four Before I Begin Again” (essay), Iron Horse Literary Journal, 2019 
  • “How to Name Dead Babies” (essay), The Rumpus, 2019
  • “Age Appropriate” (essay), Relief, 2018
  • “Nothing to Fear” (short story), Ocean State Review, 2016
  • “Retroactive Empathy” (essay), Awst Press, 2015
  • “Looking Good” (short story), Image, 2013


  • Entering the House of Awe, New Issues Press, Green Rose Series, 2011
  • Jagged with Love, University of Wisconsin Press, 2005
  • Poems published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, The Mississippi Review, Notre Dame Review, Southern Review

selected Presentations 

  • “Teach Me All the Things: New Approaches to Hybrid- and Multi-Genre Writing,” panel organizer, Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference, 2018
  • “Abiding in Mystery: Flannery O’Connor’s Manners, the ‘Acid of God’s Grace,’ and the Case of the Uninvited Visitor,” keynote address, Indiana Faith & Writing Conference, 2016
  • “Not Waving but Drowning: Navigating the Waters of Poetry Book Contests,” Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference, 2016
  • “Where Your Life Still Matters: Richard Hugo’s The Triggering Town and the Creative Writing Classroom,” panel organizer, Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference, 2014
  • “Writing & Researching to Make a Difference: How First Year Students Can (& Do)!” Michigan Campus Compact: Service Learning & Civic Engagement Institute, 2012
  • “Contemporary Poetry’s Pursuit of Peace: Unacknowledged Legislators or Voices All A-Clutter?” College English Association (CEA) conference, 2010

outside the college

In 2012, Susanna Childress and her husband, Josh Banner, released a full-length music album, The Necessary Dark, based on her writing; together they make up the band Ordinary Neighbors. Together they also parent two sons, a daughter and two Dachshund-Poodles. 

Profile photo of Dr. Susanna Childress
Dr. Susanna Childress

Phone Number616.395.7292

Lubbers Hall-Room 303 126 East 10th Street Holland, MI 49423-3516
A map showing the location for Dr. Susanna Childress Lubbers Hall-Room 303 126 East 10th Street Holland MI 49423-3516