Author Zadie Smith, winner of several awards of literature for her many works, will present Skidmore College's Frances Steloff Lecture, titled "The Writer in the World," which will be free and open to the public, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6 in Gannett Auditorium.
Saratoga Springs native Frances Steloff, founder of the Gotham Book Mart in New York City, established and endowed the Steloff Lecture series in 1967 as a way to bring outstanding literary and artistic talent to the college. Previous guest authors include Nobel laureates Mario Vargas Llosa, Nadine Gordimer, Seamus Heaney, J.M. Coetzee and Saul Bellow, as well as other major writers such as Katherine Anne Porter, Arthur Miller, Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo and John Banville.
Born in 1975 in London, Smith won fame in 2000 following the release of her first novel, "White Teeth." A portrait of contemporary multicultural London told through the stories of three ethnically diverse families, the book won several awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award and the Whitbread First Novel Award.
Her subsequent novels include "The Autograph Man" (2002), "On Beauty" (2005, winner of the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction), and "NW" (2012).
Further works include "Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays" (2009), which includes pieces published previously in such magazines as The New Yorker, Harper's, The New Republic, and The New York Review of Books.
Many of Smith's short stories have been published in The New Yorker, and in 2010 she became a regular "New Books" reviewer for Harper's. She currently is a professor of creative writing at New York University.
"Smith's novels are notable not just for their social acuity, but also for their ability to absorb philosophical ideas," Anne Enright wrote in a New York Times review of "NW". "'On Beauty' managed to be interesting about aesthetics as well as about race and compassion, and the prose was well-turned and sweet-natured to match. The themes in [her new book] 'NW' are more radical and the language more fractured [and] the result is that rare thing, a book that is radical and passionate and real."