The Hope College Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series will feature Renee Simms and Dawn Davies on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m. in a virtual reading and Q&A that is free and open to the public. The event requires an Eventbrite registration, which can be found at

Out of an abundance of caution due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no in-person audience.

Originally from Detroit, Renee Simms began her career as a lawyer before directing her focus toward creative writing. She holds a B.A. in literature from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from Wayne State University, and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Arizona State University. At the University of Puget Sound, she is an associate professor of African American Studies and a contributing faculty to English Studies. Her writing has been featured in Callaloo, Literary Hub, Southwest Review and North American Review among other publications, and her debut short story collection, “Meet Behind Mars,” was published in 2018. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship as well as a Bread Loaf Fiction fellowship in addition to other literary recognitions.

Dawn Davies is a creative nonfiction writer and author of the memoir “Mothers of Sparta.” She earned her B.A. in liberal arts from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and her M.F.A. in creative writing from Florida International University, where she served as the fiction editor of the Gulf Stream Literary Magazine and won several awards for her nonfiction writing. Additionally, her memoir won both the Great Lakes Association New Writers Award and the Florida Book Award. Her work has been published in numerous national literary journals, including McSweeney’s Quarterly, Narrative and The Missouri Review. Davies lives in Florida, where she writes and teaches writing. Davies in-person reading last spring was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Simms and Davies explore themes of motherhood, family tension, relational vulnerability, and prejudice. The authors will also visit with students in creative writing classes throughout the day on February 11.

More information about the event and the Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series can be found at