Award-winning novelist Zadie Smith made a rare public appearance in London on 18 July, to read from and discuss her much-acclaimed new book NW.
As part of our work with publishers and libraries to help create original and exciting library events for readers involving authors, we helped broker this special evening event along with the London Borough of Camden and Penguin Books. Zadie Smith was in conversation with Richard Godwin of the Evening Standard at Swiss Cottage Library in the London Borough of Camden, north west London. She took questions from the audience, followed by a book signing.
Councillor Tulip Siddiq, Camden's cabinet member for culture, introduced this special event which is part of a London-wide reading group conversation about NW this summer. In a campaign we have brokered, all London library authorities have been sent Penguin promotional materials for the novel, including free copies, an audio extract and reading guide, posters and reader review postcards. The aim is to encourage the capital's biggest ever reading group engagement with a novel via a special page on our Reading Groups For Everyone website.
Councillor Tulip Siddiq said: "Libraries provide a wealth of opportunities for reading and learning, and help make great literature accessible. It's great to welcome Zadie Smith who went to school in Camden and although she's now a fantastically successful author, hasn't forgotten her north west London roots, as her latest book shows."
"Our work with writers and publishers aims to bring readers in every kind of community amazing experiences. It doesn't get much better than meeting Zadie Smith," says Miranda McKearney.
Photos by Justin Thomas for London Borough of Camden.
About Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. She is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man and On Beauty, and of a collection of essays, Changing My Mind. She is also the editor of The Book of Other People. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2006, and White Teeth was included in Time magazine's TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005list. She is also a passionate advocate for the importance of public libraries in local communities.
About the book
NW follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan - after they've left their childhood council estate, grown up and moved on to different lives. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their city is brutal, beautiful and complicated. Yet after a chance encounter they each find that the choices they've made, the people they once were and are now, can suddenly, rapidly unravel. A portrait of modern urban life, NW is funny, sad and urgent - as brimming with vitality as the city itself.
Head to the Zadie Smith big reading group conversation on our Reading Groups for Everyone website to post your reviews and views on NW. You can also listen to extracts from the book.