Consider This with Kiese Laymon

March 7 at the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland

Join Oregon Humanities March 7 for an onstage conversation with Kiese Laymon, author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and Heavy. Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place.

This program is part of Oregon Humanities’ 2023 Consider This series on people, place, and power.



You can join this event either in person or online.

The event will take place in-person at the Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., in Portland. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m, and the event will begin at 7:00 p.m. The program will end at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

A limited number of free tickets are also available for this event. To request free tickets, please use this form.


Other Ways to Participate

The conversation will also be broadcast live, for free, on YouTube. Following the live stream, viewers will have an opportunity to connect with other online participants in a conversation on Zoom. Click here to register for the online conversation.


About the Venue

  • Mobility access: The Alberta Rose Theatre is a wheelchair-accessible venue. Anyone who uses a wheelchair or other mobility device can reserve an accessible seat at the venue by emailing in advance of the event. Accessible bathrooms are to the right of the theater entrance. 
  • Parking: Free parking is available in the neighborhood around the theater. Parking spaces often fill up quickly. There is one disabled person parking space less than one block away on NE 30th Ave., in front of Emmanuel Church of God in Christ United, but the space does not have a curb cut or ramp. The closest disabled person parking space with curb cuts is four blocks west, at the southwest corner of Northeast 26th Avenue and Northeast Alberta Street. A map of disabled person parking spaces is available from the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
  • Public transit: The TriMet Line 72 bus stops in front of the theater. Lines 70 and 17 have stops within four blocks of the venue.
  • Food and drink: Beverages and limited food are available for purchase and may be consumed anywhere in the theater during the event. Outside food and beverages are not permitted.
  • Lighting: The venue has appropriate overhead lighting before and after the conversation. During the conversation, lights are dimmed with staged lighting facing the stage. Lights in the lobby/bar remain on during the program. The auditorium does not have floor lighting in the aisles.
  • Sound: There will be music at a moderate volume before and after the event.
  • Read more about the Alberta Rose Theatre.

If you need accommodations to participate in this event, please contact Ben Waterhouse at by March 1.


About Our Guest

Kiese Laymon is the author of the award-winning memoir Heavy, the groundbreaking essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the genre-defying novel Long Division.

Laymon’s IndieBound bestselling memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir, won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, the Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, and was named one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by the New York Times.  A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable—an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family. 

When Laymon was a contributing editor at Gawker, he wrote an essay called “How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.” This harrowing piece, which describes four incidents in which Laymon was threatened with a gun, evolved into a collection of lacerating essays on race, violence, celebrity, family, and creativity.

In Laymon’s novel, the NAACP Image Award-winning Long Division, fourteen-year-old City, a newly minted YouTube star, is sent to stay with family in rural Melahatchie, Mississippi. What happens next transgresses the boundaries of fiction and reality, present and past, as City travels through time.

Laymon founded the Catherine Coleman Initiative for the Arts and Social Justice, a program aimed at getting Mississippi kids and their parents more comfortable reading, writing, revising and sharing. He is the Libby Shearn Moody Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rice University. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2022 for "bearing witness to the myriad forms of violence that mark the Black experience in formally inventive fiction and nonfiction."


More from Kiese Laymon

  • Now You See Me: A conversation with comedian Darryl Lenox about how his trust in strangers dramatically shifted after he lost his sight.
  • What We Owe and Are Owed: An essay on on Black revision, repayment, and renewal
  • Conjuring Love: A conversation in the LA Review of Books
  • Terrors: An excerpt from Heavy


Thanks to Our Sponsors

Consider This is made possible thanks to the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Oregon Cultural Trust, Susan Hammer Fund of Oregon Community Foundation, Tonkon Torp LLP and the City of Portland's We Are BetterTogether program.


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Consider This: Black Political Power in Oregon

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