Kiese Laymon is an author and academic whose memoir about his childhood in Mississippi has been described by reviewers as "astonishing" and "an act of truth telling unlike any other". Heavy: An American Memoir is written in the form of a letter to his brilliant but flawed solo mother. It charts his complex relationship with her, and names secrets they have never confronted: obesity, anorexia, sexual abuse, and a shared addiction to gambling. Heavy won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence for Non Fiction and has received a number of other awards. Kiese Laymon teaches creative writing at the University of Mississippi.