Arlington Reads brings authors and readers together to talk about the important topics of our time.
Zadie Smith in Conversation with Library Director Diane Kresh
On October 4, 2018, Arlington Public Library will showcase critically acclaimed British novelist, essayist, and short story writer Zadie Smith in conversation with Library Director Diane Kresh. Smith has been a vital literary voice in the international contemporary fiction and nonfiction scene since her first novel “White Teeth” in 2000.
Her work challenges readers to see and think in new ways and to find a place of connection with people whose beliefs are different from their own. Recurrent themes include the embrace of change, a belief in the pluralism of mankind, and the exploration of cultural identity, social class, gender and race.
Smith’s dazzling debut novel “White Teeth,” tells the multigenerational story of two intertwined North London families—one headed by working-class Archie and the other by his best friend, a Muslim Bengali named Samad Iqbal. She traces the trajectory of their friendship through marriage, parenthood and the shared disappointments of poverty and deflated dreams while exploring their cultural identities.
Smith’s most recent novel “Swing Time,” re-examines what success and progress in life can look like. She captures the coming-of-age stories of two mixed-race girls, all the way from North West London to West Africa and back again in search for a better tomorrow.
Her latest collection of nonfiction essays, “Feel Free,” covers a range of subjects from politics, pop culture, to gardens and childhood experiences. She leaves the reader with the challenge of questioning one’s inner voice, rethinking the idea of trust and embracing the gift of culture.
Smith has won multiple literary awards including the Langston Hughes Medal, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian First Book Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction. She was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was listed twice as one of Granta’s 20 Best Young British Novelists. Smith is currently a tenured professor of fiction at New York University and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Arlington Reads, a community engagement program of Arlington Public Library, promotes literacy, the joy of reading and intergenerational participation.
“The program brings together people to talk about books and the important topics of our time,” said Library Director Diane Kresh.
Since its inception in 2006, Arlington Reads has featured both national and international fiction and nonfiction authors and cultural icons, such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Wendell Berry, Katherine Boo, Matthew Desmond, Junot Díaz, Anthony Doerr, Richard Ford, Colum McCann, Tim O’Brien, Ann Patchett, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Elizabeth Strout.
Arlington Reads is made possible in part through the generous support of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library.
Arlington Reads Archive
2018 - Habitats for Inhumanity
2017 - Why Fiction Matters
2016 - The Human Displacement of WWII
2015 - Being Black in America
2014 - Dazed and Confused: Boomer Angst
2013 - Out of Bounds: the Immigrant Experience
2012 - Life, Love, Loss
2011 - The Soldier's Story
2010 - Know What You Eat
2009 - Inside the Supreme Court