2019 Speaking of Social Justice featuring Kiese Laymon - University of Houston
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2019 Speaking of Social Justice featuring Kiese Laymon


Speaking of Social Justice with Kiese Laymon

Join us for Speaking of Social Justice!

Author and English professor Kiese Laymon will give the Maconda Brown O’Connor Distinguished Lecture on his critically acclaimed and award-winning memoir, Heavy.

Heavy was the selection for the 2019 Dean’s Summer Social Justice Reading Series read by our incoming class of MSW students, faculty, staff, current students, alumni, and our entire community. Books are chosen that explore issues in keeping with the GCSW's vision of achieving social, racial, economic, and political justice, local to global. The books and accompanying authors are selected to heighten a sense of awareness and spark the conversations necessary to achieve real and lasting change.

VIEW photos from the event.

About the Book:

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 time in New York as a college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. Heavy is a “gorgeous, gutting…generous” (The New York Times) memoir that combines personal stories with piercing intellect to reflect both on the strife of American society and on Laymon’s experiences with abuse.

About the Author:

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, and Heavy: An American Memoir. Heavy, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose and Audible’s Audiobook of the Year, was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by the The Undefeated, New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Library Journal , The Washington Post , Southern Living , Entertainment Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times Critics. Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, ESPN the Magazine, Granta, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, Vanity Fair, The Best American Series, Ebony, Travel and Leisure, Paris Review, Guernica and more.

Event Details:

DATE: October 2, 2019


6PM - 7PM - Lecture

7PM – 8PM - Reception and Book Signing


Hilton University of Houston Hotel - Waldorf Astoria Ballroom