Bonnie Newman Davis

February 22, 2024 ~ 6:30 pm

Our featured speaker, Bonnie Newman Davis, is an educator, journalist and author of the acclaimed “Truth Tellers,” a non-fiction book about Black women journalists in Virginia and around the country.

Bonnie will discuss her book, journalism and her career journey in the first of our 2024 speaker series. She will answer questions from the audience and will sign books after the discussion. 

Bonnie is the managing editor of the Richmond Free Press, and has worked as a reporter for newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Richmond; as well as for MSNBC’s and She is the founder of the BND Institute of Media and Culture, Inc., a nonprofit organization that presents programs and events focused on African American culture and news media.

She’s taught at Hampton University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Norfolk State, Virginia Union, Washington & Lee, UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina A&T University, where she earned her journalism degree and is a member of the journalism department’s Hall of Fame.

Other honors she’s received include Educator of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists, and a national reporting fellowship in Ghana.

Paula Crawford Squires

March 26, 2024 ~ 6:30 pm

Paula Crawford Squires, a veteran journalist and former managing editor of Virginia Business Magazine, will talk about her book, “A Different Kind of Courage,” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at Fox Hill Neighborhood Center, 65 Hall Road in Hampton. 

Squires’ book tells the story of Donald Bridges Jr. of Chesterfield County, who is one of the longest living ventilator-dependent quadriplegics in the country. Don Bridges severed his spinal cord during a rugby match as a student at the former Medical College of Virginia, and still lives independently almost four decades later.  

From the book: Don Bridges’ life changed in an instant. One minute he was playing rugby with his teammates; the next he was lying flat on the ground. From that moment on, Don could no longer move or breathe on his own. This is the story of how he overcame incredible odds. 

Squires will discuss Bridges’ journey, along with medical and social advances in the treatment of people with spinal cord injuries. She will answer audience questions about her book, publishing, and her journalism career; and will sign books after the event. 

A former reporter for The Virginian-Pilot and a former consumer affairs columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Paula is a graduate of Radford University and Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth. She has received numerous awards from the Virginia Press Association and the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. She is a member of James River Writers, and lives in Chesterfield County.

Robin Farmer &

Michael Paul Williams

April 14, 2024 ~ 3:00

Virginia media “power couple” Robin Farmer and Michael Paul Williams will lead our third “Conversations With” of this year. Robin Farmer is the author of the award-winning young adult novel, “Malcolm and Me.” Her husband Michael Paul Williams is a longtime local columnist and one of the few Pulitzer Prize winners in Virginia. Together, they’ve written and produced “Disconnected,” a short film that debuted last year. 

Hugh Lessig

April 9, 2024 ~ 6:30 pm

Hampton resident Hugh Lessig will talk about his new crime fiction novel, Fadeaway Joe, on Thursday, April 9, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Hugh will talk about the development of his book, which is set in Hampton and all around Hampton Roads; and will answer questions from the audience and sign books following his presentation.

Lessig spent more than 30 years as a newspaper reporter, covering everything from city council meetings to the earthquake in Haiti. Born in eastern Pennsylvania, he moved to Hampton Roads in 1997. He was a Daily Press reporter for 22 years, covering primarily military, defense and veterans issues. His short stories have appeared in several publications and anthologies