Visiting Writers Series to host reading by author Kiese Laymon


The A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series at Marshall University will present a public reading by author Kiese Laymon at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse.

The black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi, authored the bestselling book, Heavy: An American Memoir, which won the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose. The memoir was also named a best book of 2018 by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed, the Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly and more. Laymon has been credited for writing that is observant and often hilarious, portraying personal and political conflicts, covering topics from race and family to body and shame to poverty and place.

According to a review at, “Heavy is a compelling record of American violence and family violence, and the wide, rutted embrace of family love … Kiese Laymon is a star in the American literary firmament, with a voice that is courageous, honest, loving, and singularly beautiful. Heavy is at once a paean to the Deep South, a condemnation of our fat-averse culture, and a brilliantly rendered memoir of growing up black, and bookish, and entangled in a family that is as challenging as it is grounding.”

Laymon also wrote How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and the novel Long Division. He teaches at the University of Mississippi.

The event is free and open to the public, with sponsorship from the Office of the President, the Honors College, the College of Liberal Arts, University Libraries and the Department of English. Light refreshments will be served, and books by the author will be available for purchase.

Contact: Jean Hardiman, University Relations Specialist, 304-696-6397,

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