Nonfiction writers Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir, and Mitchell Jackson, author of The Residue Years, present a reading of their work. Following the reading, Laymon and Jackson are joined for a conversation with Reginald Dwayne Betts.
Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. In addition to writing numerous essays, stories, and reviews for leading publications Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and Heavy: An American Memoir. Heavy, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose and Audible’s Audiobook of the Year, was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times.
Mitchell S. Jackson’s debut novel The Residue Years received wide critical praise. His novel also won The Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for The Center for Fiction Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Jackson’s honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, PEN America, TED, NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts), The Center for Fiction, and a Whiting Award. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, Harpers, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Guardian, Tin House, and elsewhere. His nonfiction book Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family is forthcoming from Scribner. He is a professor of writing at New York University. A formerly incarcerated person, Jackson is also a social and criminal justice advocate who, as part of his efforts, visits prisons and youth facilities in the United States and abroad.
Organized by Sarah Suzuki, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art; with Jocelyn Miller, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1.
The program of accompanying events is organized by Reginald Dwayne Betts in collaboration with Taja Cheek, Assistant Curator, and Alex Sloane, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1.