Kiese Laymon returns as the keynote author for the 31st annual Eudora Welty Writers Symposium, Oct. 10-12, 2019. Laymon will read from his latest book, Heavy: An American Memoir, which has been awarded the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction and the Los Angeles Times Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose. Laymon recounts his experiences growing up in Jackson, Miss., as the son of a single mother who is a prominent African American scholar and activist and confronts difficult issues of race, gender, sexual assault, domestic violence, interactions with the police, and addiction. The memoir serves as a fitting introduction to this year's symposium theme, But Here I am, and Here I'll Stay: Claiming Our Place in the South, which is inspired by Eudora Welty's story "Why I Live at the P.O."
Mr. Laymon will read and discuss his memoir on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Poindexter Hall at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Miss. A reception and book signing with all symposium authors will follow. All symposium sessions are free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. The symposium will continue at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Friday Oct. 11, and 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12.
Other featured authors include Alabama writers Kendra Allen reading from When You Learn the Alphabet and Ashley M. Jones with her second poetry collection dark // thing. Fiction will be heard from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson, as well as Cary Holladay, Mary Miller, and John W. Bateman. Other poets include Tina Barr, T. J. Anderson III, and Ann Fisher-Wirth. Ken Wells will read from his exploration of gumbo recipes and lore in Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou.
For more information on the authors and the complete schedule: http://www.muw.edu/welty
Dr. Kendall Dunkelberg
Mississippi University for Women
Dept. of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy
1100 College St., P.O. Box MUW-1634
Columbus MS 39701