[Editor’s note: Thanks to JRVWS intern Claire Buck for this post.]

As winter ices the sidewalks and coats the campus in snow, it’s the perfect time to come in from the cold and gather around good literature. This semester’s Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series promises community, conversation, and a lineup of diverse and talented authors starting with the first event of the season on Thursday, February 3 at 7 p.m. in the Schaap Auditorium of the Bultman Student Center. 

If you get excited about young adult literature and fiction that explores the complexities of the immigrant experience, you’ll love the work of Guadalupe Garcia McCall. McCall is a young adult novelist, educator, poet, and speaker who immigrated with her family from Mexico to Texas when she was six years old. She works as Assistant Professor of English at George Fox University; she also speaks to audiences across the countries on education, diversity in literature, and issues that impact the Latinx community. Her most recent novel, The Keeper, will be released this February and is available for pre-order. 

If you didn’t realize that the City of Grand Rapids has a Poet Laureate award, you’re not alone–I didn’t know about it until I got involved with bringing the 2017-2020 Grand Rapids Poet Laureate to campus as one of our JRVWS speakers. Marcel “Fable the Poet” Price is a writer, teaching artist, community advocate, spoken word poet, and motivational speaker. He is Executive Director of The Diatribe, an organization focused on empowering youth through the performing arts, and the author of a book of poetry titled “Adrift in a Sea of M&Ms.” You can explore his unique comic-style biography and get excited for his visit on his website

We’re so excited to bring these authors to campus, and we’re thrilled to be able to gather in person for this upcoming reading. Meanwhile, to whet your appetite, here are links to short videos of each writer: one for Guadalupe Garcia McCall, talking about her YA novel-in-verse, Shame the Stars; and one for Fable the Poet, where he offers a piece titled, “An Open Letter to Grand Rapids.”

To find out more about the JRVWS, including information and announcements about other events this semester, check out our website at jrvws.org or follow our Instagram (@jrvws).

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