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2012 Steloff Lecturer

November 29, 2012

2012 Steloff Lecturer

On Dec. 6 Skidmore will welcome Zadie Smith, whose novel “NW” has just been named one of the “100 Notable Books of 2012” by The New York Times.

Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith (Photo by Dominique Nabokov)
Author Zadie Smith, one of the most celebrated young writers in the English-speaking world, will present Skidmore’s Frances Steloff Lecture, titled “The Writer in the World,” on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Skidmore. Free and open to the public, the lecture/reading will begin at 8 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium of Palamountain Hall.

Born in 1975 in London, Smith won fame in 2000 following the release of her first novel, “White Teeth.” A vibrant 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 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).
A book of Smith’s essays titled “Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays” (2009) includes pieces published earlier in such magazines as The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New Republic, and The New York Review of Books.

Many of her 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.
In a New York Times review of “NW,” Anne Enright wrote: “Smith’s novels are notable not just for their social acuity, but also for their ability to absorb philosophical ideas…‘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…The result is that rare thing, a book that is radical and passionate and real.”

Skidmore’s Frances Steloff Lecture is a highlight of the academic calendar, bringing to the campus such authors as Nobel laureates Mario Vargas Llosa, Nadine Gordimer, Seamus Heaney, J.M. Coetzee, and Saul Bellow, as well as other major writers like Katherine Anne Porter, Arthur Miller, Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, and John Banville. Saratoga Springs native Frances Steloff, founder of the Gotham Book Mart in New York City and a well-known patron of writers, established and endowed the Steloff Lecture series at Skidmore in 1967 as a way to bring outstanding literary and artistic talent to the college.

Posted On: 11/29/12

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