Kiese Laymon on Long Division | Tantorious

Tantorious is a monthly podcast series featuring interviews with well-known authors, hosted by Allan Hoving and presented by Tantor Audio.

Kiese Laymon has written for numerous publications and is an associate professor of English and Africana studies at Vassar College. His debut novel, LONG DIVISION, is a Mark Twain-esque exploration of celebrity, authorship, violence, religion, and coming of age in post-Katrina Mississippi.



Excerpts from the audio interview:

Q: How did you come to be a writer?

A: My mother had me when she was a 19-year-old sophomore at Jackson State University. She used to take me to classes with her. She eventually took me to graduate school. So for the longest time, books were my baby-sitter. And as I got older, she made me write responses to everything I read before I could do what I wanted. So writing just became the way I understood myself and the world.

Q: What themes are you exploring in this book?

A: I’m really interested in literary and literal mobility for young black Americans in the Deep South now, and in the mid-’80s and in 1964 – the way we consider history, and the idea of writing being a portal to time travel. Ultimately, the book reveals some pretty strange things about literacy, race relations, and post-Katrina coastal Mississippi.

Listen to a sample of the Tantor audiobook edition of Long Division, narrated by Sean Crisden.

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