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Acclaimed writer Zadie Smith to speak as part of Contemporary Thought Speaker Series

Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith. Photo by Dominique Nabokov.

EVANSTON - Award-winning writer Zadie Smith will speak on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus Thursday, May 11. 

The event, hosted by the student-run Contemporary Thought Speaker Series (CTSS), will begin at 7 p.m. at the Ryan Auditorium, 2145 Sheridan Road. It will include a conversation with Smith moderated by Professor Michelle Wright followed by a Q&A with student questions.

Admission is free, but tickets are required for the event and are available online through Eventbrite. The event is open only to current Northwestern students, faculty and staff. More information is also available on the event’s Facebook page.

Smith is an award-winning author and a professor of creative writing at New York University. Her 2000 novel “White Teeth” won multiple literary awards and was named one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005 by Time. Her most recent novel, “Swing Time,” was similarly critically acclaimed, with The Guardian describing it as “truly marvelous reading” with “the keenest social commentary.” Smith’s work, including short stories and nonfiction pieces, have also appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books.

“One of the most important writers of the 21st century, Zadie’s novels and their insightful discussions on race, gender and class connect with Northwestern students,” said Samantha Rose, co-chair of CTSS. “They manage to be simultaneously deeply thoughtful and wickedly funny, utterly unlike anything else I’ve ever read. We could not be more excited for this discussion between Zadie and Professor Wright.”

Smith has won the Orange Prize for Fiction, she was elected to England’s Royal Society of Literature, and she was one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2006. The New York Times Magazine described her as “one of this generation’s most vital literary voices.”

Smith will participate in a conversation moderated by Michelle Wright, a professor of African American studies and comparative literary studies at Northwestern. Wright conducts research on Black American and European studies, gender, sexuality and fiction, among other areas. She is the author of “Becoming Black: Creating Identity in the African Diaspora” and “Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology.”

This discussion will be the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series’ fourth event of the year. Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins and President Obama’s chief speechwriter, Cody Keenan, spoke earlier this year. Previous CTSS speakers include Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz, journalist Sarah Koenig, hip-hop artist Killer Mike, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and activist Angela Davis.

For more information, contact CTSS nuctss1@gmail.com.

Topics: Evanston, Events

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