Zadie Smith, the acclaimed novelist who is a professor of creative writing at New York University, has been selected to received the Langston Hughes Medal from the City College of New York. The medal honors writers of poetry, drama, fiction, biographies, and critical essays from throughout the Black diaspora. Professor Smith will honored on November 16 at City College’s annual Langston Hughes Festival.
Previous winners of the Langston Hughes Medal include James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavia Butler, August Wilson, and Edwidge Danticat. Smith is the author of five novels including her latest work Swing Time(Penguin Books, 2016). She also published an essay collection Changing My Mind(Penguin Books, 2009) and writes frequently for the New Yorkermagazine and the New York Review of Books.
A native of London, Professor Smith is a graduate of Kings College of the University of Cambridge. She joined the faculty at New York University in 2010.
Author Zadie Smith and the cover of her new novel, NW. (Photo of Zadie Smith by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)
NW, the latest literary contribution from Zadie Smith – the critically acclaimed author of White Teeth, The Autograph Man, and On Beauty – does not quake with theatrical plot twists or crackle with the suspense of a mystery or adventure, but it achieves a slow burn that captures the small disappointments, encumbrances, betrayals, and self-deceptions that make up the utter “dailyness” of tragedy.
Tracing the lives of Leah, Natalie (formerly known as Keisha), Felix, and Nathan from their working class roots in the council estate (or public housing) of Caldwell in London, to their divergent individual struggles to become “adults”, or whatever it is we mean by that, Smith renders the idea of personal identity in the cacophonous, commercial and consumerist world in which we live, a frail and exposed thing. Continue reading “Review: Zadie Smith’s Novel “NW” Explores Black Upward Mobility”→