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Excitement Builds At Purchase College-SUNY Over Author Zadie Smith's Talk

Zadie Smith, a novelist, essayist and reviewer, will take part in Purchase College-SUNY's Distinguished Lecture Series in October.
Zadie Smith, a novelist, essayist and reviewer, will take part in Purchase College-SUNY's Distinguished Lecture Series in October. Photo Credit: Provided

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Students and teachers at Purchase College-SUNY can hardly wait to meet Zadie Smith.

The acclaimed author will no doubt enthrall them -- and the general public -- at a conversation set for 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The free event will include a lecture and reading by the English novelist, essayist and short story writer. It will take place in the recital hall of the college’s Performing Arts Center, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase.

Smith is best known for her novels “White Teeth,” “The Autograph Man,” “On Beauty,” and "NW," which was named by The New York Times as one of the “10 Best Books of 2012.”

Presented by the Purchase College School of Humanities, the talk is part of the Durst Distinguished Lecture Series.

Saying the college was lucky to have Smith as part of its Distinguished Lecture Series, Purchase literature professor Louise Yelin said the author “has been taking the cultural temperature of our contemporary moment.”

Smith may be best known as a writer of fiction, but, as an essayist and reviewer, her work also demonstrates that “criticism and creativity are close kin,” Yelin said.

Anthony Domestico, assistant professor of literature at Purchase College, said Smith has “drawn comparisons to the giants of the British novel.”

In “White Teeth,” he said, Smith “sounded like a modern-day, multicultural Charles Dickens -- and in “NW,” she channels Virginia Woolf, rewriting the modernist novel for contemporary times.”

Calling Smith’s ability to reinvent her style “remarkable,” Domestico said the critical intelligence she displays in her essays have made her beloved by "critics and common readers alike.”

Both the students and the faculty at Purchase “can’t wait for her visit,” he said.

Students her literature program, read “NW” over the summer, said Purchase professor Elise Lemire.

After two weeks of reading and discussing the novel, the students decided it not only calls the English literary canon into question, but also is “deconstructing the form of the novel itself,” Lemire said.

For more information about the event, call (914) 251-6550, or click here .

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