The audience listens to Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement at Englert Theatre in Iowa City on Monday. Feb. 6, 2017. Cullors discusses the current state of the country and how citizens can help to make change. (The Daily Iowan/Courtney Hawkins)

Witching Hour to feature writers of color

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This weekend, Witching Hour presents the Writers of Color Series featuring many authors, including Kiese Laymon.

By Natalie Betz

natalie-betz@uiowa.edu

For this year’s Witching Hour, there will be two panels that are a part of the Writers of Color Reading Series. On Oct. 20, Marquise Jackson, Sarah Matthews, and many others will read at the Englert, 221 E. Washington St. On Saturday, Nailah Roberts, Alyssa Moore, Marcus Brown, and several others will read at RADinc., 123 E. Washington.

Kiese Laymon, distinguished visiting professor in the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, said the Writers of Color Series is important because having all people of color in one space helps build a sense of community, which helps inspire other people of color and many others.

“Incredible acts come from community,” Laymon said.

Laymon is glad that the university supports the series so the public can hear from some writers and authors they might not have heard from before.

On Saturday, Laymon, will reading from his upcoming memoir, Heavy.

Laymon explained the memoir is about his experience and memories of sexual violence, food, language, and family.

On Oct. 12, Laymon had a reading at the Shambaugh Auditorium, but he will not be reading the same excerpt, he said. When deciding what sections of his novels to read, he said he tries to stick with the theme of the program, or ask organizers what people would want to hear.

Some fans of Laymon’s work seem to appreciate anything he writes.

“Kiese is an extraordinary writer,” said Inara Verzemnieks, an assistant professor in the Nonfiction Writing Program. “He is able to write with incredible beauty and also demand us to look with complexity and with a sense of accountability. His essays are almost always beautiful, and represent intense experiences.”

Darius Stewart, a student of Laymon’s, said he admires how he feels inspired by how much he learns from Laymon, not just as a writer but as a thinker.

“You don’t really know something until you read his work, and that’s really rare,” Stewart said. “He offers alternative ways of thinking.”

Aside from fellow writers, many more people say they have learned from Laymon’s work.

“I feel like anytime I read anything he writes, I am learning,” Verzemniecks said.

What: Witching Hour’s Writers of Color Series

When: Oct. 20, 5 p.m., Englert, 221 E. Washington

Oct. 21, 5 p.m., RADinc., 123 E. Washington

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