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Irvin D. Reid Honors College

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March 28, 2019 | 2:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Category: Special Event
Location: 46 Helen L. DeRoy Auditorium
Cost: Free
Audience: Academic Staff, Alumni, Community, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Staff

Please join us as we welcome writers Kiese Laymon and Rae Paris for the the rescheduled inaugural conversation of a new speaker series, "The Fire This Time: Conversations in Black Thought."

Taking its name and inspiration from James Baldwin's prophetic essay collection, "The Fire This Time: Conversations in Black Thought" is a speaker series that will bring together artists, scholars, and social justice activists in conversation with one another to examine and explore questions of history, protest, nation, justice, and freedom as they relate to our precarious political present.

Join us as we listen to Kiese Laymon and Rae Paris explore the urgencies and possiblities of Radical Black Love for our nation's past, present, and future.

A professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, Kiese Laymon is an African American writer whose most recent and heavily anticipated work, Heavy: An American Memoir (Scribner, October 2018) has been named one of the Best Books of 2018 by the The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Library Journal, The Washington Post, Southern Living, Entertainment Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times Critics. Heavy was awarded this year’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.

An assistant professor of English at the University of Michigan, Rae Paris is an African American writer and the recipient of numerous fellowships and prizes for her poetry, essays, and fiction. Her first book, The Forgetting Tree: A Rememory (WSU Press, 2017) is a revelation. in the words of Tracy K. Smith, the 2017 Poet Laureate of the United States, The Forgetting Tree "punctures our national reticence around slavery, and offers a measure of necessary healing."

We are thrilled to welcome both of these writers to Wayne State University and to Detroit.

Their conversation will be preceded by poetry reading by WSU Creative Writing M.A. student, Robert Laidler.

This event is generously sponsored by the following Wayne State Univeristy units: African American Public Humanities Initiative; Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies; Departments of African American Studies, English (Open Field Reading Series), History, and Sociology; Detroit Writers' Guild; Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies; Irvin D. Reid Honors College; Humanities Center, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Wayne State University Press.

This event is free and open to the public.

46 Helen L. Deroy Auditorium is wheelchair accessible via the elevator in the south building of the Prentis Building.


For more information about this event, please contact Lisa Ze Winters at 313-577-2515 or