Canisius University Contemporary Writers Series Welcomes Damon Young; Acclaimed Author of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker

September 18, 2020

Buffalo, NY – The Canisius University Contemporary Writers Series will welcome acclaimed author Damon Young ’02 to a live web event on Tuesday, October 13.  Young will speak about his debut memoir What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, at 7:00 p.m., and take questions from participants. An RSVP is required to participate in the event. Visit to register. 

Damon Young is a writer, critic, humorist and satirist. His debut memoir -- What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays (Ecco/HarperCollins) --  is a tragicomic exploration of the angsts, anxieties, and absurdities of existing while black in America, and won Barnes & Noble's 2019 Discover Award. It was also longlisted for the PEN America Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award, nominated for both an NAACP Image Award and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and is a Krause Essay Prize nominee. NPR, which named it one of the best books of 2019, called it an "outstanding collection of nonfiction." 

Young is also the co-founder and editor in chief of VerySmartBrothas -- coined "the blackest thing that ever happened to the internet" by The Washington Post -- a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and a columnist for GQ. Ava DuVernay called his voice "clear and critical." Michael Eric Dyson said he's "one of the most important young voices in humor writing today." And Kiese Laymon called his work "the best of American twenty-first century writing." 

Damon currently resides in Pittsburgh's Northside, with his wife and two children.

Founded with a grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation and continued through the Peter Canisius Distinguished Teaching Professorship Program, the Contemporary Writers Series is generously supported today by the Hassett, Scoma and Lowery Endowments and with the cooperation of The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Just Buffalo Literary Center, the Center for Urban Education and Talking Leaves Books. 

For more information, contact Mick Cochrane, PhD, professor of English and coordinator of the Contemporary Writers Series, at (716)888-2662 or @email.

One of 27 Jesuit universities, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year, marking 150 years of Jesuit education and leadership in the city of Buffalo and Western New York. Visit for more information about Canisius’ milestones and celebratory events.