Award-winning novelist Zadie Smith to talk about writing in the 21st century in March 20 University Lectures presentation

March 14, 2012

Award-winning novelist Zadie Smith will speak about the point of writing in the 21st century—especially given social media and other influences—in the next University Lectures presentation at Syracuse University on Tuesday, March 20.

Zadie SmithSmith’s presentation, “Why Write?” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel and is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Irving Garage. CART and sign language interpretation will be available for the lecture.

The lecture is sponsored in cooperation with The Writing Program in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.

Smith’s first novel, “White Teeth” (2000), is a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the story of three ethnically diverse families. Her tenure as writer in residence at the Institute of Contemporary Arts resulted in the publication of an anthology of erotic stories titled “Piece of Flesh” (2001). She wrote the introduction for “The Burned Children of America” (2003), a collection of 18 short stories by a new generation of young American writers.

Her second novel, “The Autograph Man” (2002), a story of loss, obsession and the nature of celebrity, won the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction. In 2003, Smith was nominated by Granta magazine as one of 20 “Best of Young British Novelists.” Her third novel, “On Beauty” (2005) won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also written “Fail Better” (2006), a nonfiction book about writing.

Smith is currently a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University. Her most recent book is “Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays” (2009). She is currently working on a new novel entitled “NW.”

The University Lectures is a cross-disciplinary lecture series that brings to the University individuals of exceptional accomplishment. The series is supported by the generosity of the University’s trustees, alumni and friends. The lectures are free and open to the public.

The Office of University Lectures welcomes suggestions for future speakers. To recommend a speaker, or to receive additional information about the University Lectures series, contact Esther Gray in the Office of Academic Affairs at 443-2941 or More information can be found at or on Facebook at

The final guest in the 2011-12 season will be environmentalist and author Terry Tempest Williams, in conversation with Professor Don Mitchell, on Thursday, March 29.