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Author Zadie Smith Talks With Pico Iyer at UCSB

UCSB Arts & Lectures will present an evening with celebrated author Zadie Smith in conversation with Pico Iyer at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at UCSB Campbell Hall.

Zadie Smith Click to view larger
Zadie Smith (Dominique Nabokov)

A British novelist, essayist and short-story writer, Smith is known for her unique perspective on contemporary culture, superb dialogue and emotionally rich stories.

Her reputation as one of the most important voices of her generation was established with her award-winning debut novel, White Teeth in 2000.

Smith’s newest novel Swing Time, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, is “a multilayered tour-de-force ... [that] burnishes her place in the literary firmament,” the Los Angeles Times said.

Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She graduated from Cambridge University in 1997 with a degree in English.
 
Her novel White Teeth is a portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the stories of three ethnically diverse families.

The book won a number of awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and two BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards.

White Teeth also was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Author’s Club First Novel Award. White Teeth has been translated into some 20 languages and adapted for TV broadcast in 2002.
 
Smith’s The Autograph Man (2002), a story of loss, obsession and the nature of celebrity, won the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Fiction.

In 2003 and 2013, she was named by Granta magazine as one of 20 Best of Young British Novelists. On Beauty won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction.

Smith's NW was short-listed for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and was named as one of The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2012.

Smith writes regularly for The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. Her acclaimed novel Swing Time was published in 2016. Her new collection of essays, Feel Free, is slated for publication in February.
 
In 2017, she was elected a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters. She is currently a tenured professor of creative writing at New York University.

Iyer is the author of numerous books about crossing cultures, among them Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk and The Global Soul.

An essayist for Time since 1986, he publishes regularly in Harper’s, The New York Review of Books and The New York Times.

Iyer was born in Oxford, England, in 1957 to parents from India. He was educated at Eton, Oxford and Harvard. He has written more than a dozen books.

Since 1992, Iyer has been based in rural Japan while spending part of each year in a Benedictine hermitage in California.
 
An Evening with Zadie Smith is the inaugural Speaking with Pico series event. Other events in the series include talks between Iyer and palliative care physician BJ Miller, Brain Pickings curator Maria Popova, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anthony Doerr.

Tickets are $20-$35 for the general public or $10 for UCSB students with valid student ID. For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures, 893-3535 or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

— Caitlin O'Hara for UCSB Arts & Lectures.

 

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