We are proud to host Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir, at the 2019 Reid Writers of Color Reading Series. He will be giving a talk/reading and there will be a book-signing on Wednesday, April 3 at 5pm in Keating 1st Auditorium at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus. His visit is part of the Reid Family Writers of Color Reading Series, which since 2008 has brought some of the most celebrated writers of color to Fordham. Events have included readings, master classes and panel discussions. The English Department at Fordham is deeply grateful to the Reid Family for their continuing generosity.
About Kiese Laymon
Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University. Laymon is currently the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa in Fall 2017. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, the UK edition released in 2016.
Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, The Best American Series, Ebony, Travel and Leisure, Paris Review and Guernica. He has two books forthcoming, including a memoir called Heavy expected in October 2018 and a novel, And So On, in 2019, both from Scribner.
2019 Reid Book: Heavy
In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.
A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations.
The Reid events are made possible through the generosity of Kenneth and Frances K. Reid and the sponsorship of the Fordham English Department and the Creative Writing Program.