Vox Conversations

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.



The rugged majesty of revision

Vox's Jamil Smith speaks with novelist and author Kiese Laymon in a far-ranging conversation about Laymon's reacquiring the rights to his own books, the struggle of retelling our own stories, and the challenges of articulating American narratives that include all Americans accurately.

Host: Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith), Senior Correspondent, Vox

Guest: Kiese Laymon (@KieseLaymon), author


  • "What we owe and are owed" by Kiese Laymon (Vox; May 17)
  • Long Division by Kiese Laymon (Scribner; 2021)
  • How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon (Scribner; 2020)
  • Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (Scribner; 2018)
  • "Why I Paid Tenfold to Buy Back the Rights for Two of My Books" by Kiese Laymon (Literary Hub; Nov. 10, 2020)
  • "'RS Interview: Special Edition' With Ta-Nehisi Coates" by Jamil Smith (Rolling Stone; Nov. 20, 2020)
  • "The Roots of Structural Racism Project: Twenty-First Century Racial Residential Segregation in the United States" by Stephen Menendian, Arthur Gailes, and Samir Gambhir (Othering & Belonging Institute; 2021)
  • "Black churches taught us to forgive white people. We learned to shame ourselves" by Kiese Laymon (The Guardian; June 23, 2015)
  • "Now Here We Go Again, We See the Crystal Visions" by Kiese Laymon (Vanity Fair; Nov. 19, 2020)

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This episode was made by: 

  • Producer: Erikk Geannikis
  • Editor: Amy Drozdowska
  • Engineer: Paul Robert Mounsey
  • VP, Vox Audio: Liz Kelly Nelson

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 2021-07-15  1h0m