British novelist Zadie Smith to speak at Stanford

This year’s Stanford Presidential Lecture in the Humanities and Arts will feature acclaimed British author Zadie Smith on March 7.

Zadie Smith, a prize-winning British novelist, essayist and short-story writer, will speak at Stanford to deliver the 2019 Stanford Presidential Lecture in the Humanities and Arts on Thursday, March 7.

As part of the event, Smith will read from one of her works and then converse with Harry Elam Jr., vice president for the arts at Stanford. The event, which will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Stanford’s CEMEX Auditorium, is free and open to the public. The tickets will become available at noon on Feb. 7.

Zadie Smith

British novelist Zadie Smith will speak at Stanford on March 7. (Image credit: Dominique Nabakov)

Originally from northwest London, Smith gained international attention with her 2000 debut novel White Teeth. The best-selling book paints a portrait of contemporary multicultural London through the stories of three ethnically diverse families. The book has received numerous prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize.

Smith, who is a professor of creative writing at New York University, is also known for writing The Autograph Man (2002), On Beauty (2005), NW (2012),  Swing Time (2016) and a novella, The Embassy of Cambodia (2013), among many other works. She was named as one of 20 best young British novelists in 2003 and 2013 by Granta magazine. She is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature as well as a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Her most recent book, Feel Free, released in 2018, is a collection of essays reflecting on recent events in culture and politics, including Brexit and social networking.

The Stanford Presidential Lecture Series in the Humanities and Arts bring the most distinguished scholars, artists and critics to the Stanford campus for lectures, seminars, panel discussions and a variety of interactions with faculty, students and other community members. The events are administered by the Stanford Humanities Center and funded by the Office of the President.

“We are thrilled to welcome Zadie Smith to Stanford,” said Caroline Winterer, director of the Humanities Center and the Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities in the School of Humanities and Sciences. “The Presidential Lecture Series showcases what’s new and exciting in the humanities and arts, and Smith’s novels and essays explore important aspects of modern culture as well as timeless themes.”

Previous Presidential Lecturers have included renowned cancer doctor Siddhartha Mukherjee, author Junot Díaz and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson.