Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University. Laymon is currently a Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, the UK edition released in 2016. Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, The Best American Series, Ebony and Guernica. He is a contributing editor of Oxford American.
Long Division was named one of the Best of 2013 by Buzzfeed, The Believer, Salon, Guernica, Contemporary Literature, Mosaic Magazine, Library Journal, Chicago Tribune and the Crunk Feminist Collective. It was also short-listed for the Believer Book Award, the Ernest Gaines Award and the Morning News Tournament of Books. Long Division won the 2014 Saroyan International Writing Award on November 10th. Three essays in "How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America" have been included in the Best American series, the Best of Net award, and the Atlantic's Best Essays of 2013. He was selected a member of the Root 100 in 2013 and 2014 and Ebony Magazine Power 100 in 2015.
Kiese Laymon has two books forthcoming, including a memoir called Heavy and the novel called And So On which can be expected in 2017 and 2018, both from Scribner.