Co-Sponsor: Institute for Comparative Literature & Society - Columbia University
PRESENTED VIRTUALLY VIA ZOOM
JONAH MIXON-WEBSTER is a poet and conceptual/sound artist from Flint, Michigan. Stereo(TYPE) is his debut collection of poems. It was originally published by Ahsahta Press in 2018 and won the Sawtooth Poetry Prize, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University and received a Ph.D. in creative writing from Illinois State University. He is the recipient of the Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry, and fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, the Conversation Literary Festival, and the PEN Writing for Justice Program. His work has appeared in The Yale Review, Callaloo, Harper’s Magazine, and Best American Experimental Writing 2018.
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 bestselling memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir, won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, the Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, and was named one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by The New York Times. 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. 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. The audiobook, read by the author, was named the Audible 2018 Audiobook of the Year.