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An Evening with Zadie Smith

One of Britain's best-loved novelists on her latest novel 'The Fraud' and her writing career

The late Martin Amis once wrote about Middlemarch that it is a ‘novel without weaknesses’. You might say something similar about The Fraud – The Guardian

An ingenious, unresolved tale told by a writer at the peak of her powers – The Daily Telegraph

Zadie Smith is one of Britain’s best-loved novelists. Her body of work includes three essay collections, a short-story collection, and six acclaimed novels, including White Teeth and On Beauty (which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and won the 2006 Orange Prize for fiction).

Smith’s new novel, The Fraud, was named in December as one of the ten best books of 2023 by the staff of The New York Times Book Review. That accolade capped the widespread acclaim that greeted Smith’s novel – her first in seven years and her first historical novel – after its publication in September.

In June 2024 Zadie Smith came to the Intelligence Squared stage to talk about The Fraud and her writing career, and to mark the publication of the paperback edition of the novel.

The Fraud’s main characters are all based on historical figures – including novelists, alleged fraudsters, freed slaves – who lived in Smith’s own London neighbourhood of Kilburn. But the novel is as international as it is local and it addresses issues of politics and identity that make The Fraud feel as much about today as about the past.



Zadie Smith

Author and her latest novel is The Fraud

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW and Swing Time; as well as a novella, The Embassy of Cambodia; three collections of essays, Changing My Mind, Feel Free and Intimations; a collection of short stories, Grand Union; and the play, The Wife of Willesden, adapted from Chaucer. She is also the editor of The Book of Other People. Zadie Smith was born in north-west London, where she still lives. The Fraud is her first historical novel.

Kwame Kwei-Armah

Artistic director of the Young Vic theatre

Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE is Artistic Director of the Young Vic Theatre and Artistic Advisor at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York.  He was previously Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage (2011-18) and Artistic Director of the Festival of Black Arts and Culture, Senegal (2010), where he wrote and directed the opening ceremony at Senghor stadium. As a playwright, Kwame was the first black Briton to have a play produced in London’s commercial West End (Elmina’s Kitchen). His triptych of plays was produced at the National Theatre, where he later created the online resource The Black Play Archive.

Kwame was Chancellor of the University of the Arts, London (2010-2015), is Patron of Ballet Black and The Black Cultural Archives, Chair of Warwick Arts Centre Advisory Board and a Trustee of the Tate and the founding Trustee Black Equity Organisation.  Kwame was awarded an OBE for Services to Drama in 2011, and in 2020 listed as one of 100 Great Black Britons.