Meet Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir, on Friday, October 19th from 5:30 - 6:30 PM as he signs at Pass Books/Cat Island Coffeehouse. Laymon's just released memoir received starred reviews in Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus Reviews and gushing praise from the author of Hunger, Roxanne Gay, "Oh my god. Heavy is astonishing. Difficult. Intense. Layered. Wow. Just wow." Laymon will speak at 5:45. Complementary wine and hors d'oeuvres will be offered.
Laymon's previous two books, Long Divison and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America will also be available for purchase and Laymon's signature.
Few writers are able to expose the enduring failures of American society through the lens of a personal narrative with unflinching candor and raw vulnerability. Genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon has accomplished this impressive feat with his highly anticipated forthcoming book HEAVY: An American Memoir, a searing exploration of what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse.
With a commitment to facing hard truths, HEAVY charts Laymon’s early experiences of sexual violence and toxic masculinity growing up in Jackson, Mississippi; his complex and often painful relationship to his brilliant mother; first-hand experiences with racism in academia; and the physical manifestations of trauma, including obesity, anorexia, and gambling addiction, on his own body.
By illuminating what has been hidden, from the most intimate — a mother-child relationship — to the most universal — a society that has undervalued and abused black bodies for centuries, Laymon confronts the oppression woven into the fabric of American society. The portrait that emerges in HEAVY is deeply intimate yet entirely inclusive of our shared memories of an abusive nation. Destined to become a modern classic, HEAVY cements Kiese Laymon as a bold and important new voice in American literature.
Nothing short of a modern classic. These sentences that he so painstakingly crafted are some the most arresting ever printed in the English language. Kiese’s heart and humor shine through, and we are blessed to have such raw humanity rendered in prose that begs for repeat readings.”
—Mychal Denzel Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching
“Stark, beautiful, challenging, and refreshing…The abundance of Heavy is going to be a gift for many hurting hearts, in our time and beyond.”
—Eve Ewing, author of Electric Arches
“A testament to a sort of truth and self-reflection that is increasingly rare in our world today. If for some reason you were not already convinced, there should no longer be any doubt that Kiese Laymon is one of the important writers of our time.”
—Clint Smith, author of Counting Descent
"An intimate excavation, a diagnosis, and a prescription for a cure for the terrifying dishonesty of the American body politic…With Heavy, Laymon, the chief blues scribe of our time, writes and plays us a path through the weight of things."
—Zandria Robinson, author of This Ain’t Chicago
“Kiese Laymon’s new book is an emotional powerhouse. He fearlessly takes the reader into the
dark corners of his interior life. Wound, grief, and enduring pain reside there. But this book is
a love letter. And, as we all know, love is a beautiful AND funky experience.
Thank you, Kiese, for this gift.”
—Eddie Glaude, author of Democracy in Black
“Laymon has done nothing less than write the autobiography of the first generation of
African-Americans born after the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s and the Black Power
ethos of the 1970s. His story of grappling with love and violence and language and our bodies
is this generation’s story, and it is as moving and heartbreaking and heartwarming
as you would expect. And then some.”
—Courtney Baker, author of Humane Insight
KIESE LAYMON is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. He is currently a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University. He is the author of the award-winning novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. Laymon has written for numerous publications including the New York Times, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Esquire, The Guardian, McSweeneys, Colorlines, The Best American Series, Ebony, and many others. He is a contributing editor of Oxford American.