Alumnus Damon Young speaks at Contemporary Writing Series event

Author Damon Young '02, pictured here in 2018 was featured during Canisius College’s Contemporary Writing Series. (Griffin File Photo)

The Contemporary Writing Series held a virtual live event via Zoom on Tuesday which featured Damon Young ‘02, the author of “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker.”

The event was hosted by Dr. Hamilton Cochrane along with Dr. Jennifer Desiderio who asked Young questions submitted by those in attendance. 

During the event, Young read passages from his acclaimed book that includes memoirs in an essay format and also answered questions submitted during the event.

Young read passages, such as “Living While Black Killed My Mom,” that discussed how his mom passed because he said she didn’t receive the proper medical attention because she was a Black woman. Throughout this memoir, he talks about his own life experiences as growing as a black man in the United States.

He said writing this memoir was a lonely and difficult process. Young explained that he had to deal with his demons, and through this memoir, he exposed all his thoughts and feelings to the world.

As Cochrane said, Young tells the truth in his writing, and this is what he left his audience with before the event wrapped up. He advised the students in attendance to tell the truth, and to follow the path that allows them to be honest; this is something that he strives to do in his work.

Prior to this event, Young held another virtual event in which he opened the floor up to students and faculty who wanted to ask him questions. 

During this separate event, he discussed the humor in his work, his writing routines and why he wrote. He said he prefers to observe and finds it easier to express his feelings on a page rather than out loud, which is his reasoning as to why he writes.

Originally, Young is from Pittsburgh, Pa., and attended Canisius College on a basketball scholarship. He said he started his writing journey while at Canisius and during this time finally decided to become an English major. 

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