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Heavy: An American Memoir - a reading and conversation

Kiese Laymon
April 3rd, 2017
7:00 PM


Monday, April 3, 2017

7:00 - 8:00 pm

Hayti Heritage Center (804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 27701)

Optional Facebook event RSVP

In Heavy: An American Memoir, Kiese Laymon explores his family's relationship to sexual violence, food and language. In the course of the exploration, he finds his mother, his identity as a son and memories he spent a lifetime concealing. During this event, Laymon will read from his forthcoming memoir and participate in a discussion with the audience and the moderator, Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal.

A reception will follow, and The Regulator Bookshop will have copies of Laymon's previous books, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and Long Division, available for sale.

This program is presented as a partnership between Duke's Forum for Scholars and Publics and Scalawag, a Durham-based magazine about politics and culture in the American South. Additional support from the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, the Thompson Writing Program at Duke, and the Duke Language, Arts, and Media Program.  


Kiese Laymon

University of Mississippi

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 and is currently a Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi.  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, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Oxford American, The Best American Series, Ebony and Guernica. 

Long Division won the 2014 Saroyan International Writing Award and was named one of the Best of 2013 by Buzzfeed, The Believer, Salon, Guernica, Contemporary Literature, Mosaic Magazine, Library Journal, Chicago Tribune, and the Crunk Feminist Collective. Three essays from How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in Americahave been included in the Best American series, the Best of Net award, and The Atlantic’s Best Essays of 2013. Laymon was selected a member of The Root 100 in 2013 and 2014 and Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 in 2015.

Kiese Laymon has two books forthcoming, including a memoir called Heavy and the novel called And So On which can be expected in 2017, both from Scribner.

Mark Anthony Neal

Duke University

Mark Anthony Neal is Professor of African & African American Studies and the founding director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship (CADCE) at Duke University where he offers courses on Black Masculinity, Popular Culture, and Digital Humanities, including signature courses on Michael Jackson & the Black Performance Tradition, and The History of Hip-Hop, which he co-teaches with Grammy Award Winning producer 9th Wonder (Patrick Douthit).

He is the author of several books including What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture (1999), Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic (2002) and Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities (2013). The 10th Anniversary edition of Neal’s New Black Man was published in February of 2015 by Routledge. Neal is co-editor of That's the Joint: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (Routledge), now in its second edition. Additionally Neal hosts the video webcast "Left of Black", which is produced in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke. You can follow him on Twitter at @NewBlackMan.