Lumumba Honors Writer Laymon, a Jackson Native and Ole Miss Professor


Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba continued a trend of honoring homegrown authors when he delivered a proclamation to Jackson native Kiese Laymon for his writing this morning.

Laymon is the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He recently released his memoir, "Heavy: An American Memoir," about "growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi," as his website describes the work. This book joins his expanding collection of works that include critically acclaimed essays and a novel.

"I just would like to express my gratitude for Kiese joining us today," the mayor said at the podium in the council chambers. "I'd like to express my gratitude for his tremendous work. We really don't focus on the tremendous talent that Jackson has given birth to—all of these great literary geniuses—and so I'm happy to have Kiese standing with us because he falls in line with that. This is a homegrown author who has nationally and world-renowned writings that have been recognized."

Laymon told the Jackson Free Press that the honor made him feel overwhelmed, happy and thankful.

"My book is about Jackson, so just the fact that folks from Jackson would appreciate and really love me in anticipation of the book just says everything," Laymon said.

Laymon grew up in Jackson, but left after getting kicked out of Millsaps College when he was 19 years old. He says he came back within the last three years and appreciates being honored, but believes the real credit should go to those Jacksonians who never left.

"I think it's important to honor people who come back, but to really, really, really honor people like my aunt who stayed here and fought and made a way for a lot of people who wouldn't have had a way," Laymon

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