‘White Teeth’ Author Zadie Smith to Present 2013 Troy Lecture, ‘Why Write?’ at UMass Amherst

November 26, 2013

Contact: Wesley Blixt 413/545-0444

Zadie Smith

AMHERST, Mass. – Writer Zadie Smith, author of the celebrated novel “White Teeth,” will deliver the 2013 Troy Lecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

Smith, whose talk is titled “Why Write?” joins a long list of international literary figures who have delivered the Troy Lecture at UMass Amherst, including Margaret Atwood, Judith Butler, Sherman Alexie, Salman Rushdie and Nobel Prize winners Nadine Gordimer, J.M. Coetzee, Seamus Heaney and Wole Soyinka. The Troy Lectures are presented by the English department in honor of the late Frederick S. (Barney) Troy, professor emeritus of English and former trustee.

“These are the writers we teach in our classes,” said English department chair Jenny Spencer recalling Gordimer speaking at the Troy in 1991, just one week after she won the Nobel Prize in Literature. “Given how distinguished our invited authors are, the Troy is a lecture series that our faculty rarely miss.”

Smith rocketed to literary stardom in 2000 with the publication of “White Teeth,” her first novel. Smith’s portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the story of three ethnically diverse families, won awards including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and two BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards. “White Teeth” has been translated into more than 20 languages and was adapted for television in 2002.

Smith has written three subsequent novels, as well as many essays, and is a tenured professor of creative writing at New York University. Her most recent novel, “NW,” was named as one of the “10 Best Books of 2012” by The New York Times.

The Troy Lecture is free and open to the public. Smith’s popularity ensures this event, traditionally well attended by alumni and Five College students, will fill quickly. Those interested in hearing the talk are encouraged to arrive early; doors to the Student Union Ballroom will open at 4 p.m.

Video recording of the Troy Lecture will not be allowed.