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A headshot of a bald Black man wearing a black hoodie. <span style="font-weight: 400;">He looks towards the viewer, with a stoic expression</span>. Behind him are glimpses of trees and mountains.

Photo courtesy of the artist.


Kiese Laymon

He // Him // His


Oxford, Mississippi

It probably sounds reductive or corny, but I've never known how dependent I am on hearing other artists create, revise, and talk, often insufficiently, about their works in progress. I've needed this every year of my life, but I've needed it more, having lost so many folks I love these past two years.”

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon is the author of the novel Long Division, the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the best seller Heavy: An American Memoir. Laymon is at work on several new projects, including the long poem “Good God,” the horror comedy And So On, the children’s book City Summer, Country Summer, and the film Heavy: An American Memoir. Laymon is the founder of the Catherine Coleman Literary Arts and Justice Initiative, a program aimed at getting Mississippi kids and their parents more comfortable reading, writing, revising, and sharing.

Donor -This award was generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This artist page was last updated on: 07.08.2024

A book cover with the word "Heavy" written in a wide, serif font vertically down the center in a mustard yellow. Black text says "Kiese LAymon" and "An American memoir." Medallions on the cover identify the book as.a New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books 2018 and Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.

Heavy, an American Memoir by Kiese Laymon, 2018.

A book cover with handwritter black text that reads, "How to slowly kill yourself and others in America." A quote from Roxane Gay reads, "I was stunned into stillness."

How to Slowly Kill Yourself in America by Kiese Laymon, 2013.

A book cover depicts various colorful illustrations, including a cat, a sneaker, a brush, and plant leaves, against a black background. White text reads, "Long Division by Kiese Laymon."

Long Division by Kiese Laymon, 2013.