Man vs. Corpse Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Zadie Smith is a prolific essayist, novelist, and short story writer. Born to an English father and a Jamaican mother in London in 1975, Smith graduated with a degree in English literature from Cambridge in 1997. Just three years later she published first novel, White Teeth (2000), to a monumental amount of praise from critical and public sources.

White Teeth tells the story of three ethnically diverse families living in contemporary London. The book won a variety of awards and prizes, including but not limited to: the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and two BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards. White Teeth has been translated into over twenty languages and was adapted as a television series for Channel 4 in the fall of 2002.

Zadie Smith's second novel, The Autograph Man, published in 2002, is a story of loss, obsession and the nature of celebrity. The novel won the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction. Her third novel, On Beauty, was published in 2005, and won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. She also wrote a nonfiction book in 2006 about writing entitled Fail Better. Her book of essays, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, came out in 2009.

In her latest novel, NW (2012), Smith writes on four locals living in northwest London as they struggle to navigate the city and create adult lives outside of the council estate of their childhood. NW was named as one of the New York Times ‘10 Best Books of 2012.’ According to NPR, the book offers a “nuanced, disturbing exploration of the boundaries, some porous, some impenetrable, between people living cheek by jowl in urban centers where the widening gap between haves and have-nots has created chasms into which we're all in danger of falling."

Zadie Smith is currently a tenured professor of Creative Writing at New York University and her visit to CMC is sponsored by the Athenaeum and the Gould Center of Humanistic Studies.