A Conversation with Zadie Smith

Dominique Nabokov

A Conversation with Zadie Smith

Past Event: Wednesday, February 27, 2019

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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Literary Arts

Tickets are sold out, but we will be selling standby tickets, space provided, the night of the event. We will begin handing out standby numbers at the Benaroya Box Office beginning at 6pm. $40 general admission; $10 for Students/25 & Under (ID required), cash preferred.

Zadie Smith is one of the world’s preeminent fiction and non-fiction writers. Her novels include White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and Swing Time, among others; and her many non-fiction works on a range of subjects from pop culture to politics are collected in Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays and 2018’s Feel Free.

Smith’s acclaimed White Teeth (2000) is a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the stories of three ethnically diverse families. The book won a number of awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and two BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards. It was also shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and the Author’s Club First Novel Award. White Teeth has been translated into over twenty languages.

Smith’s second novel, The Autograph Man (2002)—a story of loss, obsession, and the nature of celebrity—won the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Fiction. Her next work, On Beauty (2005), won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction, and tells the story of an interracial family living in the university town of Wellington, Massachusetts and their misadventures in the culture wars on both sides of the Atlantic.

NW (2012), set in northwest London, follows four locals—Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan—as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. The book was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction and was named one of the New York Times‘s ‘10 Best Books of 2012.’

Her most recent novel is Swing Time (2016), which follows two brown girls in their dream of becoming dancers. Swing Time was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2017, Smith was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters and was the recipient of the 2017 City College of New York’s Langston Hughes Medal.

Smith is also an acclaimed essayist. She contributes regularly to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books on a range of subjects, and has additionally published the collection Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays (2009), and a new book of essays, Feel Free (2018). Gathering in one place for the first time previously unpublished work, as well as already classic essays such as, “Joy,” and, “Find Your Beach,” Feel Free offers a survey of important recent events in culture and politics, as well as Smith’s own life.

Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She read English at Cambridge before graduating in 1997. She is currently a tenured professor of Creative Writing at New York University.

This in-conversation will be moderated by Valerie Curtis-Newton, Professor in Acting and Directing and Head of Performance at the University of Washington’s School of Drama, and director of the Hansberry Project, a professional African American theatre lab. 

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the largest event space at Benaroya Hall. 

Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Bus
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by bus and light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

Parking
The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.

Accessibility

SAL is for everyone. We want all audience members to be able to experience our lectures and readings regardless of accessibility concerns. Accessibility services at our venues are provided at no cost to ticket holders. If you find you need to sit closer to the stage to accommodate your needs but find the cost of a Patron ticket prohibitive, then please contact us—we will seat you where you need to be, regardless of cost.

Open Captioning occurs at every event that takes place at Benaroya Hall. It is also always available upon request for all events in our other halls, with a two-week minimum notice. To make a request for Open Captioning services, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

Assisted Listening Devices, including Hearing Loop Assisted Listening Systems, are available at all of our venues, with the exception of Broadway Performance Hall. If you would like more information, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

ASL-Interpretated Events are always available upon request, with a two-week minimum notice. To make a request for ASL interpretation, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

Wheelchair Accessible Ticketing is available in all sections at our venues, and and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. If you would like more information, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

For any further questions or requests, or to offer Seattle Arts & Lectures feedback on how we can be more accessible and inclusive, please reach out to our Patron Services Manager at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

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