Black History Month Speaker Series Kicks off with Kiese Laymon

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Photo by Thomas Graning

Kiese Laymon Photo by Thomas Graning

FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama will welcome award-winning author Kiese Laymon at the second Black History Month Speaker Series on Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. in the Performance Center of the Guillot University Center on the UNA campus.


“The Black History Month Speaker Series is designed to bring speakers to campus to help understand the black experience as it is seen through various lenses,” said Joan Williams, the Director of the Office of Diversity and Institutional Equity at UNA.


Laymon is a black Southern writer born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. His work includes a novel, Long Division; a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America; and a memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir. He is the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi.


“We are excited to bring such an accomplished and provocative writer to UNA and the Shoals community,” Williams said. “Mr. Laymon is sure to capture the audience’s attention with his raw depiction of America’s history and its intersection with race, Southern traditions, and the coping mechanisms of people of color through family lies and truth.”


Laymon is the winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction, the LA Times Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, Barnes & Nobel Discover Award, and Audibel’s Audiobook of the

Year. Heavy was also named one of the Best Books of 2018 by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Library Journal, The Washington Post, Southern Living, Entertainment Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times Critics.


The event is open to the public and free of charge. It’s sponsored by the Office of Diversity and

Institutional Equity (ODIE), Division of Enrollment Management, and the English Department.


More information about Kiese Laymon can be found at

Media Release/Michelle Eubanks
Interim Associate Director, Communications and Marketing
University Communications and Marketing

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