Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: Kiese Laymon

Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: Kiese Laymon

Date and Time

  • Thursday, October 1, 2020 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.


This reading/craft talk event will take place on Zoom.

5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110




On Thursday, October 1, 2020, 12:30 p.m., the Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series welcomes essayist and memoirist Kiese Laymon for a craft talk and reading.

Thursday, October 1, 12:30 p.m., Craft Talk and Reading with Kiese Laymon
Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 977 2672 9788
Passcode: cropper

Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. His savage humor and clear-eyed perceptiveness have earned him comparisons to Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alice Walker, and Mark Twain. He is the author of the award-winning memoir Heavy, the groundbreaking essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the genre-defying novel Long Division. Laymon’s powerful bestselling memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir, won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, and was named one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by The New York Times.  It is a nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction. In this fearless, provocative book, Laymon unpacks what a lifetime of secrets and lies does to a Black body, a Black family, and a nation hunkered on the edge of moral collapse. Reginald Dwayne Betts, author of A Question of Freedom and Bastards of the Reagan Era, calls Heavy “the most honest and intimate account of growing up black and southern since Richard Wright’s Black Boy.” In a starred review, Kirkus wrote, “Laymon skillfully couches his provocative subject matter in language that is pyrotechnic and unmistakably his own… A dynamic memoir that is unsettling in all the best ways.” Heavy was named a best book of 2018 by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, was named one of the 50 best memoirs since 1969 by The New York Times, and was a finalist for the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction. The audiobook, read by the author, was named the Audible 2018 Audiobook of the Year.


In a recent Statement of Solidarity written after the murder of George Floyd and in the wake of protests against police brutality, the Department of English noted that, “It is precisely in times like these that we witness the unique capacity of literature to remind us of the innate dignity of all human life.” Since its inception in 2004, the Cropper Center has prioritized bringing a diversity of voices to campus, to both enliven our campus community’s encounter with the written word, and, by extension, to help cultivate a collective understanding of the broad array of human experiences. 

Guided by these values, and in light of the English Department’s recent reaffirmation of its “commitment to the enduring work of anti-racism,” the Cropper Center is proud to announce that the 2020/2021 Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series will be a celebration of Black creative work exclusively. This fall, we will welcome the 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry, Jericho Brown, the essayist and memoirist Kiese Laymon, and the fiction writer Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. In the Spring, we will host a reading with our very own faculty member, poet Alexis Jackson. 

Sponsored by the Cropper Center for Creative Writing.

Please note that all fall readings and craft talks will take place on Zoom.

Heavy, An American Memoir, Kiese Laymon

This event is open to the public

Post Contact

Brad Melekian