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Tag Archives: Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith’s “Feel Free” Honored At National Book Critics Circle Awards

Zadie Smith, best known for her piercing comic novels, has won a National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism for her essays collected in Feel Free. She extended appreciation to her husband first, with a jaunty, “Thank you so much to Nick Laird, for sharing so much with me, willingly and unwillingly, including the title of his poetry book Feel Free, which I would also like to apologize to for stealing.” The book is a lively, capacious and learned romp through five sections that explore freedom of language and thought: “In the World,” “In the Audience,” “In the Gallery,” “On the Bookshelf and “Feel Free.” Smith, a 43-year-old Londoner, won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2006 for On Beauty, a witty story of an interracial family living in an American... Read More →

10 Gems From 2018 That Deserve A Spot On Your 2019 Reading List

As we bid adieu to 2018, allow us to shine a last, lingering reading light on ten highlights: the year’s titles from Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners.  It should surprise no one that several are already acclaimed as the best-of-the-year. All are worth reading. “American Histories: Stories” by John Edgar Wideman  In the latest literary stroke from an American master, these 21 short stories “are linked by astringent wit, audacious invention and a dry sensibility,” according to one critic. Another calls them “irresistible” and “profoundly moving.” The first, “JB & FD” imagines conversations between John Brown and Frederick Douglass. Another tale takes up with Jean-Michel Basquiat. Still another, “Williamsburg Bridge,” rests with a man contemplating... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Authors Protest “Muslim Ban” In An Open Letter To President Trump

Sixty-six writers and artists – including seven Anisfield-Wolf recipients and two jury members – wrote an open letter to President Donald Trump asking him to desist from broadly banning travel to the United States by people from seven predominately Muslim countries. The letter, sponsored by PEN America, is timed to influence the president before he issues a second version of his original, sweeping travel ban, which is now stayed by the U.S. District Court of Appeals. “Preventing international artists from contributing to American cultural life will not make America safer, and will damage its international prestige and influence,” wrote the signatories, who include poet Rita Dove and historian Simon Schama, panelists on the five-member Anisfield-Wolf jury. The letter... Read More →

A Literary President: Obama Reflects On The Books That Gave Him Stamina And Resolve

President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia shop at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., back in 2014. Official White House photo by Pete SouzaLate at night and through eight grueling years, literature helped sustain the outgoing president of the United States. In a wide-ranging interview with New York Times chief book critic Michiko Kakutani, Barack Obama reflected on the centrality of reading and the titles that have given him insight and solace, particularly in fiction.  He mentions just completing Colson Whitehead's "The Underground Railroad" and putting Maxine Hong Kingston's "The Woman Warrior" on the Kindle of his older daughter Malia. The conversation shows a deeply reflective man in the midst of shaping his second act. At 55, he leaves the White House a... Read More →

Zadie Smith Talks Creativity At CWRU: “I Much Prefer Writing At This Age Than When I Was 24.”

"Cleveland has always been incredibly nice to me," novelist Zadie Smith said as she took the podium at Case Western Reserve University. Her last visit to Northeast Ohio was back in 2006, when she was on hand to accept the Anisfield-Wolf prize for fiction for her third novel, On Beauty. This year, Smith was the first author to appear at Writers Center Stage, a literary series sponsored by the Cuyahoga County Public Library and Case Western Reserve University. Clad in a tan blazer and jeans, Smith began her talk, entitled, "Why Write? Creativity and Refusal." The title borrows from George Orwell's 1946 essay "Why I Write."  Smith, 38, told the audience that she appreciates the wisdom that comes with experience. "I much prefer writing at this age than when I was 24," she said. Her debut... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Winners Both Attend And Object To The Brooklyn Book Festival

  Photo credit: Belem Destefani Brooklyn, N.Y. -- The Brooklyn Book Festival—a celebratory, cerebral, free event that runs one Sunday in September—attracted tens of thousands of readers, and this year, a spike of controversy. Anisfield-Wolf jurors Rita Dove and Joyce Carol Oates read from their work, soaking up warm applause, while two recent fiction winners—Junot Diaz and Kamila Shamsie—signed a petition calling on the festival to sever its support from Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “It is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept funding from the Israeli government just weeks after Israel’s bloody 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which left more than 2,100 Palestinians – including 500 children – dead,” asserts the petition, distributed... Read More →

Zadie Smith And Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Talk Race, Romance Novels And Beyonce At The Schomburg Center

Novelists Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – both Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners -- displayed a warm, comfortable familiarity on stage for their recent appearance at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. Fresh off Adichie's National Book Critics Circle win for “Americanah,” her novel about “love, race and hair,” the conversation between the two literary lionesses veered from the amusing to the insightful. Watch the duo discuss Adichie's fascination with race and class, the absurdity of romance novels, and Beyonce. Read More →

Zadie Smith Shares New Short Story In The New Yorker

We're always delighted to read a new piece from 2006 winner Zadie Smith's mind, as she is one of our favorite authors in the modern age. It's kind of blasphemous for us to declare we have a favorite (after all, isn't it like saying, out loud, that you have a favorite child?) but it's true that Zadie Smith is at the top of our list. (Don't worry, our list is very wide at the top.)  Her newest piece is an easy read in the New Yorker, called "The Embassy of Cambodia." Here's a sneak peek: Who would expect the Embassy of Cambodia? Nobody. Nobody could have expected it, or be expecting it. It’s a surprise, to us all. The Embassy of Cambodia! Next door to the embassy is a health center. On the other side, a row of private residences, most of them belonging to wealthy Arabs (or so we, the... Read More →

Zadie Smith’s Novel Gets The Audio Book Club Treatment

Slate.com book editor Dan Kois, DoubleX editor Hanna Rosin, and Brow Beat editor David Haglund sat down for a Slate Audio Book Club podcast to discuss Zadie Smith's newest book, "NW," which was recently named one of the best books of 2012 by the New York Times.  Listen to the entire audio book club podcast here, where the editors discuss the "Google-ability" of the book and comparisons to Ulysses.  Read More →

VIDEO: Explore London Through Zadie Smith’s Characters

Penguin USA has uploaded a few videos of in honor of Zadie Smith's new book NW. We thought you would enjoy.  Read More →
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