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 from Indiana University and is currently an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College. 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 and stories for numerous publications including Esquire, ESPN, Colorlines, NPR, Gawker, The Los Angeles Times, PEN Journal, Truthout, Longman’s Hip Hop Reader, The Best American Series, Guernica, Mythium and Politics and Culture. He was selected a member of the Root 100 in 2013 and 2014.
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 his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.
A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations.
In this Episode, the Spoilers are back to gush over Kiese Layman’s amazing new memoir, HEAVY. There’s not much to say except we were pretty much knocked out by the audacity of Laymon’s writing and we talk almost endlessly about the countless ways that we were amazed. The show is fifty minutes long, but we could have gone for another two. But you know Anita wasn’t going to let that happen (’cause she’s good at her job). We kept it reasonable for y’all. You can thank her later, but listen to the show now!