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Langston Hughes Festival Celebrates Zadie Smith's Literature

Posted October 27, 2017

On the day that Zadie Smith receives City College of New York’s venerated Langston Hughes Medal, scholars and writers hold a symposium at CCNY on Nov. 16 to deconstruct the noted novelist’s work. Entitled “I am the sole author of the dictionary that defines me," the event runs 12:30 – 3 p.m. in City College’s Aaron Davis Hall, Theater B, located at 135th St. and Convent Ave. It is free and open to the public. Click here to register.

Participants in the Langston Hughes Festival symposium include:

Vanessa K. Valdés, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese in CCNY’s Division of Humanities and the Arts, author of  “Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg,” will be the moderator.

“We’re excited about presenting what I know will be a compelling discussion of Zadie Smith's writing and her impact on the literary landscape,” said Retha Powers, director of the Langston Hughes Festival.

The symposium preludes the evening’s Festival highlight at which Smith

will receive the 2017 Langston Hughes Medal. She joins a list of literary luminaries, including James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Walter Mosley, who have received the honor. 

A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Smith will give a reading. She will also engage in a conversation with Emily Raboteau, the award-winning writer and CCNY English professor.

The medal presentation will be made by Jacqueline Woodson, the renowned author and 2015 Langston Hughes Medalist. Click here to attend.

Smith’s award-winning books include: “White Teeth”(Random House, 2000), “The Autograph Man” (Vintage Books / Random House, 2002),  “On Beauty” (Penguin Books, 2005),  “NW” (Penguin Press, 2012) and “Swing Time” (Penguin Books, 2016).

In addition to her novels, she writes regularly for the New Yorker magazine and the New York Review of Books. She is a tenured professor of creative writing at New York University.


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