Writer Kiese Laymon returns to Sewanee Sept. 5-10

Author Kiese Laymon returns to Sewanee as writer-in-residence from September 5-10. While in Sewanee, Laymon will give a reading and join a panel discussion—both open to the public—as well as work with students and faculty.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, Laymon will read from his memoir Heavy (available next month), followed by a conversation and reception, all in Convocation Hall. 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.

A panel discussion on “Southern Writing in the 21st Century,” with Laymon, John Grammer, Michael Griffith, Elyzabeth Wilder, and Caroline Randall Williams, will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10. The event in Convocation Hall will be followed by a reception.

See the full schedule of additional events below; registration is required for some student and faculty workshops.

Laymon graduated from Oberlin College and received an MFA in fiction from Indiana University. He is currently the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi; he previously served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa. Laymon is the author of the novel Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.

Laymon has written essays, stories, and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, NPR, The Guardian, Oxford American, and Paris Review. Following the publication of the memoir Heavy, a novel, And So On, is expected in 2019.

Events for Sewanee students and faculty:

Friday, Sept. 7, 12 noon

Faculty lunch discussion, “Necessary Tension: Teaching and Writing through Difference”
Center for Teaching
Registration required


Friday, Sept. 7, 2-3:30 p.m. 

Student writing workshop, “Why Find 'a Voice' When We Have So Many Voices?: A Conversation on Literary Voice, Audience and Imagination”
Gailor Hall 110
Registration required


Saturday, Sept. 8, 4 p.m.

A listening session hosted by Kiese Laymon, “Finding the Musical Map of Heavy: An American Memoir
Ralston Room, duPont Library


Saturday, Sept. 8, 9 p.m.

Saturday Night Spins with DJ Kiese Laymon
Mary Sue Cushman Room, Bairnwick Women’s Center


Monday, Sept. 10, 12-1:30 p.m.

Writing … and the Art of Making a Living: Kiese Laymon on Careers in Writing
Career & Leadership Development Conference Room
Students must register on TigerNet by September 6


The series of events is sponsored by: American Studies, Brown Foundation Fellowship, Career and Leadership Development, Center for Teaching, English Department, Office of the Dean of the College, Office of the Dean of Students, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation, the Sewanee Review, Sewanee School of Letters, Southern Studies Workshop, and Student Government Association.