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Kiese Laymon: My Head is Part of my Body - 5/2

Tue, May 2nd, 2023
7:00 pm
- 8:15 pm

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Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. His savage humor and clear-eyed perceptiveness have earned him comparisons to Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alice Walker, and Mark Twain. He is the author of the award-winning memoir Heavy, the groundbreaking essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the genre-defying novel Long Division.

Laymon’s memoir Heavy won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, the Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, and was named one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by The New York Times.  A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable—an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family.

A 2022 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow, Laymon is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, ESPN The Magazine, NPR, Colorlines, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Ebony, Guernica, The Oxford AmericanLit Hub, and many others in addition to Gawker.

Presented as the last in  Cohan Family Forum series on Mental Health and Trauma. Co-sponsored by the  Class of ‘71 Public Affairs Forum, the Lecture Committee, and the Davis Center.

Free and Open to the Public.  Photo credit: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

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