The Ohio State University at Newark

Ohio State Newark to Host Author of New Memoir, Panel of Female Writers

January 18, 2019

The Ohio State University at Newark will welcome Bridgett Davis to celebrate the release of her compelling new memoir, The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers. The award-winning fiction writer will read from her book on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. in room 126 (performance platform) of the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center. Davis will also participate in a panel discussion on Friday, Mar. 1, at noon with fellow writers Karen Thomas and Rhoda McKinney-Jones in the Dr. Donald G. and Patsy P. Jones Event Center located in Jane C. and William T. McConnell Hall.

The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers is Davis’ story of growing up in Detroit in the 60s and 70s while keeping a huge family secret: the business her mother ran – the one that brought the family out of poverty and into the middle class – was illegal. Her mother, Fannie Mai Drumwright Davis Robinson, was a numbers runner.

Davis’ rigorously researched story provides insight into 20th century black history, a glimpse of Detroit in its Motor City/Motown heyday and a moving tale of one woman’s determination. Fannie Davis fled the Jim Crow South for Detroit, only to be faced with severely limited opportunities in an economy that systematically excluded or subjugated blacks. Fiercely intelligent and determined to provide for her family, she created a hugely successful business collecting bets for The Numbers, an underground lottery. Bridgett Davis provides a portrait of a glamourous, larger-than-life woman who took enormous risks to create a better life for her five children—but whose hard-won prosperity constantly faced the threat of collapse.

Signed copies of the book will be available for sale at the event, as will Bridgett Davis’ two novels, Into the Go-Slow and Shifting through Neutral. As a professor at The City University of New York’s Baruch College, Davis teaches creative, film and narrative writing, and directs the Sidney Harmen Writer-in-Residence program. She is also the writer/director of the award-winning feature film Naked Acts.

Davis, Thomas and McKinney-Jones will participate in a panel discussion about their career paths from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism to where they are now as they survived and thrived during turbulent times in the fields of journalism and literature.

Thomas spent more than 25 years in the trenches of daily journalism, as a national correspondent for the Chicago Tribune covering education, and a feature writer specializing in family issues, narrative writing and column writing for 13 years at the Dallas Morning News. Since 2006, she has been a freelance writer submitting essays, author interviews and book reviews for several publications. Thomas is also a professor of practice in the Division of Journalism at Southern Methodist University teaching a range of classes from beginning reporting to literary journalism.

McKinney-Jones has been a reporter, editor and ghostwriter for 30 years. She has focused on assisting emerging authors with their first works, as well as editing and writing for pastors and theologians. She has edited three books published by Judson Press. McKinney-Jones has also been a daily reporter for the Chicago Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune and the Atlanta Constitution & Journal; feature writer and reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; managing editor and contributor to Trumpet Magazine; and national correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association that serves 135 African-American newspapers across the country. She was an assistant editor at Ebony magazine.

The Warner Center is located at 1219 University Drive, Newark, Ohio. McConnell Hall is located at 929 Sharon Valley Road, Newark, Ohio. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information contact Virginia Cope, Ph.D., associate dean and associate professor of English, at

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.