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Zadie Smith, 2015-2016 Distinguished Visiting Writer

Celebrated British writer Zadie Smith, who first took the literary world by storm with her best-selling debut White Teeth in 2000, is coming to University of Calgary for a February 11 reading and book signing at MacEwan Hall.

Smith will be appearing as the university’s 2015-16 Distinguished Visiting Writer, the event an annual highlight of the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program.

Born in the working class London borough of Brent, Smith, who is of Jamaican and English descent, is currently working on a book of essays entitled Feel Free, to be released in 2016. She and her husband, Irish novelist Nick Laird, are also co-writing the screenplay for a science-fiction film set to be directed by Claire Denis and star Robert Pattinson.

Smith first attracted the attention of the publishing world while studying English at King’s College, Cambridge, where she published a number of short stories in student anthologies.

Completed during her final year at Cambridge, White Teeth – a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the eyes of three ethnically diverse families – drew a wave of critical acclaim. It also won a number of awards including the Guardian First Book Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. It was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.

White Teeth has been translated into over 20 languages and was adapted for television in 2002.

Smith’s follow up works, including novels The Autograph Man (2002), On Beauty (2005) and NW (2012), as well as the novella, The Embassy of Cambodia (2013), have continued to garner critical praise and top literary prizes.

In addition to her writing, Smith taught at Harvard and Columbia universities before joining New York University as a tenured professor of fiction in 2010.

As a Distinguished Visiting Writer for the CDWP, Smith joins a long line of literary luminaries who have taken part in the annual event before her, including Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Art Spiegelman, Oliver Sacks, Deepa Mehta and Michael Ondaatje.

Admittance to this event is free, but tickets are required and seating is limited. All free tickets were claimed on Eventbrite on October 21, 2015, the day they were released. 

We will have a rush line at Zadie Smith's talk for those who'd like to attend but who don't have Eventbrite tickets. At 7:20pm we will assess how many empty seats there are in the house and let that number of people in via the rush line. Please be advised that standing in the rush line DOES NOT GUARANTEE that you will be let into the event, so come with modest expectations.