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We are elated to host this celebration of award winning Jamaican novelist and poet Kei Miller's collection of essays, Things I have Withheld on October 29, 2021. Kei Miller will be in conversation with UC Santa Cruz Professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Xavier Livermon.

In Things I Have Withheld Miller explores the silence in which so many important things are kept. He examines the experience of discrimination through this silence and what it means to breach it: to risk words, to risk truths. And he considers the histories our bodies inherit – the crimes that haunt them, and how meaning can shift as we move throughout the world, variously assuming privilege or victimhood.


This event will be live on and free with registration - click "Save My Spot" above. 

About Our Guests

KEI MILLER is a Jamaican poet, essayist, and novelist, shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and winner of the prestigious Forward poetry prize for his collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. His story collection Fear of Stones was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and his most recent novel, Augustown was a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award, and won the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Prix Les Afriques, and the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde.

In 2010, the Institute of Jamaica awarded him the Silver Musgrave medal for his contributions to Literature and in 2018 he was awarded the Anthony Sabga medal for Arts & Letters. He has taught at the Universities of Glasgow, Royal Holloway and Exeter and, in 2019, he was the Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor to the University of Iowa.

In one interview Miller has said that he “started writing poetry to become a better fiction writer,” while at University, and then he “started drumming to become a better poet.”

XAVIER LIVERMON Born in Portsmouth Virginia and raised in Vallejo CA, Xavier Livermon has always had a curiosity about the other-worlds available beyond the waterways that abutted his childhood. This led him to seek out and live an eclectic set of life and work experiences culled from diverse places as far afield as Accra, Ghana; Thaba Tseka, Lesotho; and Detroit, Michigan.

After receiving his Ph.D. in African Diaspora Studies from UC Berkeley, Xavier worked at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wayne State University, and currently serves as Associate Professor Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. 

Xavier's writing and research is interested in how music relates to the social and how minoritized communities imagine freedom. His first book Kwaito Bodies: Remastering Space & Subjectivity in Post-apartheid South Africa was published in 2020 with Duke University Press.  He is also the co-editor of Black Sexual Economies: Race and Sex in a Culture of Capital. He has published widely in the fields of African Popular Culture and African Queer Studies.  

Things I Have Withheld 

In this astonishing collection of essays, the award-winning poet and novelist Kei Miller examines the experience of discrimination through silence and what it means to breach it: to risk words, to risk truths. Through letters to James Baldwin, encounters with Liam Neeson, Soca, Carnival, family secrets, love affairs, white women’s tears, questions of aesthetics and more, Miller powerfully and imaginatively recounts everyday acts of racism and prejudice.With both the epigrammatic concision and conversational cadence of his poetry and novels, Things I Have Withheld is a great artistic achievement: a work of beauty which challenges us to interrogate what seems unsayable and why – our actions, defence mechanisms, imaginations and interactions – and those of the world around us.


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