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 from Indiana University and is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. Long Division was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by a number of publications, including Buzzfeed, The Believer, Salon, Guernica, Mosaic Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Morning News, MSNBC, Library Journal, Contemporary Literature, and the Crunk Feminist Collective. Both of Laymon's book are finalists for the Mississippi Award for Arts and Letters in the fiction and nonfiction categories. Long Division is currently a finalist for Stanford's Saroyan international writing award. Laymon has written essays and stories for numerous publications including Esquire, ESPN, Colorlines, NPR, Gawker, Truthout, Longman’s Hip Hop Reader, The Best American Non-required Reading, Guernica, Mythium and Politics and Culture. Laymon is currently at work on a new novel “And So On” and a memoir called 309: A Fat Black Memoir. He is an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College.